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U.O^ ru uJe^ ^^ly 



History of Methodism 


Great Britain and America, 







Jllitsiratetr toitb oijcr 250 (!5ngrafatngs, ISlaps, mxiJ Cfjarts. 



PHILLIPS & HUNT, SOS Broadway, New York. 
HITCHCOCK & WALDEN, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis. 

J. P. MAGEE, Boston. J. B. HILL, San Francisco. 

H. H. OTIS. Buffalo. WM. BRIGGS, Toronto, Ontario. 



Copyrif^ht, 1S79, by Phillips & Hunt, New York. 

The Book Editor of the Methodist Boole Concern. 

Office of the ^Ietuodist Quartkely Review, 

805 Broadway, New York, Sejit. 22, 1879. 

Rev. AV. H. Daniels, A. M. : 

Your •• Illustrated History of Methodism " is written 
^vitll an accuracy, a lifp, and a freshness which will, I think, 
insure it a deserved and wide-spread popularity. The numer- 
ous engraved illustrations, fresh from their originals, aid to 
give reality to the narrative. Every Methodist who has not 
the time for readins; Dr. Abel Stevens' s-reat work should read 
yours. And not only Methodists, but all Protestant Christen- 
dom is interested in the wonderful re^'ival, of which AVesley 
and Whitefield were leaders, and will find rich entertain- 
ment and quickening power in the perusal of your pictorial 





DuEESTG the last hundred and fifty years that little band of young 
men at Oxford derisively called " The Holy Club " has grown into a 
world-mde Christian communion. Its regular clergy numbers twenty 
thousand, its actual membership over three millions, and its adher- 
ents about twelve millions of souls. 

Methodism is supernatural. Such historic marvels as the Empire 
of the first Napoleon may be accounted for on natural principles, with 
a liberal mixture of the infernal ; but the rise of this vast religious 
empire cannot be referred to the operation of any laws or forces known 
to state-craft or philosophy : science did not discover it, logic did not 
deduce it, kings did not will it, nor legislators enact it ; but, like the 
new Jerusalem of the Apocalypse, it came down out of heaven : a 
divine benefaction of spiritual light, and joy, and power. 

To worthily record the sweep of this divine movement would 
require the inspiration of a prophet and the experience of an apostle. 
Human sight is too slow to discover, and human speech too weak to 
portray, the majesty and glory of this work of grace ; and whoever 
thoughtfully approaches such a task must ever be oppressed to think 
how far this theme transcends his powers. 

Another embarrassment is found in the immense mass of historic 
material which has accumulated in the archives of the Church. Hun- 
dreds of volumes, and almost countless pages in other forms, both 
written and printed, invite the research of the student and claim the 
attention of the historian : though this embarrassment partially disap- 
pears when he discovers to how great an extent his predecessors have 
reproduced the same materials in different forms. 

Why then reproduce them still again ? 

To this question there are several rephes. In the first place, it had 
become painfully evident to those in charge of the literature of our 
Church that her glorious and helpful history was generally neglected. 
The able and stately volumes of former authors have evidently been 
thrust aside by the mass of other and lighter reading constantly kej^t 
before our people, especially our young peoj)le, and it therefore became 
the plain duty of the ofiicial publishers of the Church to make an effort 
to restore its history to its lost place in popular attention and interest. 
"With this end in view the present work was projected. 


8 Preface. 

Again, a marked change has taken place in tlie liistoric methods 
since the voluminous works of Bangs and Stevens were written ; new 
material has accumulated ; the rapid improvement of the engraver's 
art invites its more liberal use than in any previous volume of Church 
history. In view of these facts it has been the endeavor of the Church 
authorities charged with such duties to furnish her people with a book 
which, by its freshness and beauty, as well as by its vigor and com- 
pactness of style, should attract them to the study of characters and 
events at once the most delightful and important. 

To say that the size of this volume does not admit of even the 
briefest sketch of all our distinguished men and women is far below 
the truth. Xo work of any practical size could contain so much. 
God has so abundantly blessed our Church in this respects that the 
effort to record his bounty to Methodist minds and hearts would be 
like attempting to gather up and set forth the work of the simshine 
and tlie rain upon this fruitful land of ours. Only a few representa- 
tive characters and careers among the multitudes which, if they were 
not so many, M'ould any one of them be worthy of a volume, can possi- 
bly find place in these pages. 

The author is under especial obligations to the Rev. Mr. Tyerman 
and Dr. Smith for the assistance he has found in their large and admi- 
rable works ; as well as to the Rev. Dr. Jobson, the Wesleyan Book 
Steward, for the ample literary and artistic materials supplied. The 
American side of this volume owes much to Drs. Bangs and Stevens, to 
Bishop Simpson, from M'hose admirable " Cyclopaedia," by the courtesy 
of the author and publishers, valuable literary and ai-tistic matter has 
been obtained, to the leading literary men of the Methodist Church 
of Canada, and to the numerous biographers of our deceased celebrities, 
whose labors are almost oppressive in plentifnlness and excellence. To 
the brethren who so cheerfully aided the author in his tour of research 
among historic scenes and places he here again expreoc^-s his thanks. 

The annals of Methodism have long been a favorite study with him 
who now attempts to collate and record them. In a retrospect of his 
work there are portions of it which he wishes might have been done 
better ; but he feels no twinge of self-condemnation in view of any 
kno\\'n unfaithfulness or neglect. Others might have done better; he 
may do better in the future by the help of this additional experience ; 
but he has certainly given himself unreservedly to tliis work, and done 
it " heartily as unto the Lord." May the Lord and the Church be 
pleased graciously and indulgently to accept it at his hands. 



Having been requested to write an introduction to the 
" Illustrated History of Methodism," about to be published 
by our Book Concern, I most cheerfully comply; because I 
um in full accord with the general drift and purpose of the 
book, and more especially because I deem it of the first im- 
portance that our people should give more attention to the 
study of our history as a Church. 

Methodism is not a new system of philosophy, ethics, or 
theology ; neither is it a mere method in religion, as its name 
might imply. It does not belong to that class of institutions 
Avhich can properly be said to be " founded " by any one, as 
dynasties or schools are said to be founded, by this adven- 
turer in politics, or that reforaier in religion ; and the author 
of this volume is right, as it seems to me, in saying that John 
Wesley was '' as much the product as the promoter of Meth- 
odism." It was not John Wesley who founded Methodism 
so much as it was Methodism which founded John Wesley. 
The tide which bore him on in his wonderful career was one 
of those outpourings of watei's such as the Prophet saw in 
his vision ; '' first ankle deep, then rising to the knees, then 
to the loins, and finally waters to swim in, a river that could 
not be passed over." May God give to the Church a realiza- 
tion of the words of the angel who showed him the vision, 
and who said : " And eveiy thing shall live whither the river 
cometh." Ezekiel xlvii, 9. 

Wesley, before his conversion, was an ardent youth, capa^ 
ble of organizing and conducting a Holy Club ; which, however 

10 Introduction. 

fell to pieces on his first considerable absence from Oxford ; 
but he was no more capable of planning and leading the great 
exodus of British souls out of State-Church formalism than 
was Moses, just after he had finished his studies in the schools 
of Egypt, capable of leading a nation of slaves out from 
among the brick-kilns. In each case it was God's good pleas- 
ure that the people should go out, and he raised up and 
trained a leader for them ; but the real leader, in both cases, 
was He who dwelt in the fire and in the cloud. Neither 
Moses nor Wesley knew one day the pathway they should 
travel the next, and the most and best that can be said of 
either of these men is, what Paul says of himself : they were 
"not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." Acts xxvi, 19, 

The author of this volume has drawn the portraits of his 
characters with a free, bold hand. It is somewhat of a sur- 
prise to find among some of the illustrations which so admi- 
rably adorn these pages the portrait of the great John Wes- 
ley as a very boyish-looking young man ; for most of his 
admirers never think of him as less than sixty years of age. 
His ritualism, also, during those early years iu which he 
had such a " troublesome soul on his hands and did not know 
what to do with it," is placed in full and striking contrast 
Avith his experience and views after his conversion ; a con- 
trast somewhat startling to those who have never had any 
other than a general idea of the man ; but which is true to 
the life, and useful withal, as sho\ving that Wesley was w^hat 
he was in the days of his power, not chiefly by means of his 
great talents and culture, but only by and through the abun- 
dant grace of God. They fail to understand him who speak 
of him as the " founder of Methodism." As well might the 
Apostle Peter be called the founder of Pentecost. 

It is a matter of great satisfaction to me, and I trust 
it Avill be to the Church at large, that the author, in these 

Introduction. 11 

pages, gives special prominence to the missionary spirit and 
histoiy of Methodisjn, both in his account of the British 
Wesleyans, and of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It has 
■come to my knowledge that certain detractions have been 
attempted against the workings of our Missionary Society ; 
I wish, therefore, to say v^hat my opportunities of observa- 
tion enable me to say intelligently, that never since Method- 
ism was planted in this laud did our Church make more 
rapid progress in new fields than it does to-day : it is my 
sincere belief that the work of God moves on now as rapidly 
and efficiently in the missionary circuits and stations of our 
Church along our vast frontiers as it did when the frontiers 
were east of the AUeghanies. 

In our foreign missionary fields the same comparison holds 
good. There are as many sinners from among the heathen in 
India and China converted and brought into the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, in proportion to the outlay of labor and 
money to that end, as there are from the regular Methodist 
congregations in j^ew York, Philadelphia, or elsewhere in the 
United States. Or, to state the case in a financial way : it may 
I)e said that a dollar will go as far in the w- ork of saving sin- 
ners in either our home missionary or foreign missionary 
circuits and stations as it will in our oldest and most favored 
localities in this land ; and in no period of our history were 
results any greater in proportion to the outlay of labor and 
money than they are to-day. 

In this work Mr. Daniels has seen proper to depart, in 
one noticeable instance, from certain fashions which some for- 
mer ^vriters have followed. He tells us that the heroic age 
of Methodism has not yet passed away — a statement in which 
I concur, and which I -svish most heartily to indorse. It is 
not necessary to undervalue the present race of Methodist 
preachers in order sufficiently to honor the fathers ; and it is 

12 Inteoductiox. 

a liistonc mistake to set forth the difficulties with which the 
fathers of our Church were obliged to contend as entitling 
them to a monopoly of heroic honors. If the privations, dan- 
gers, and suffei'ings which are cheerfully endured on our mis- 
sion stations, in the destitute portions of great cities, in wild 
mountain regions of the interior, and in our border work 
both West and South, could only find a pen to write them 
and a voice to tell them, the story would be every way wor- 
thy a place beside that of the pioneer Bishop himself and of 
his glorious itinerant compeers. 

Methodist preachers do not lie on the ground and sleep 
in the ^voods on their circuits in New York and Pennsyl- 
vania, for the sim})le reason that there is no occasion for such 
conduct ; but they are doing this very thing yet in Western 
and Southern fields. Men are not mobbed and murdered in 
Marvland and Vii'ijinia for doino; the work of a minister in the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, but they are mobbed and mur- 
dered in Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas. If any doubtful 
brother is anxious to know whether there is still a call for 
heroism of the old stamp in the Methodist ministry, let him 
volunteer for some of our frontier appointments ; and he may 
be able to satisfy himself, within a very brief space of time, 
that these are heroic days — martyr days, even — of Methodism,. 
as truly as in the closing years of the last century. 

Our Church has never yet Ijeen frightened fi'om its duty 
by difficulties. However hard the work, or however great 
the danger, there have always been eager volunteers for the 
service ; and such, no less than lieretofore, is the state of the 
case to-day. 

At the risk of being misunderstood, though the fact is 
plain enough, I should like to call attention to what the au- 
thor in this volume calls "The overflow of Methodism.'' For 
many years the social -states of our Societies was such that 

Inteoduction. 13 

there was a constant temptation for persons who were con- 
verted among us to unite with some more popuLar body of 
believers ; and thus the figures given in our Minutes from 
year to year have not shown the whole number of conver- 
sions which have blessed the labors of our preachers and 
people. No accurate statement of this constant ovei'flow can 
■ever be made, but the movement has been considerable and 
important, and while we have grown less rapidly because of 
it, other denominations have been strengthened and cheered 
thereby. Perhaps, also, the doctrines and methods of our 
sister Churches have through this agency been somewhat 
modified and inspirited. If so, we give thanks to Almighty 

If Methodism were able to claim all its own it would 
probably be superior in numbers to all the other orthodox 
Protestant bodies in America put together : a state of things 
which would neither be o-ood for us nor for our neio;hbors. 
No insignificant portion of the best ^vorking talent of other 
denominations has been under Methodist tutelage. We judge 
this large class of Christian ^vorkers to be all the more com- 
petent and effective on this very account, and we have no 
sympathy with those who accuse Methodism of some inher- 
ent weakness because it does not always retain in its own 
communion all persons converted at its altars. 

A word ought to be added as a Just commendation of this 
latest and best work of the author, whose accounts of other 
great religious movements have been so widely circulated and 
read, and which have proved so great a blessing, both in 
England and America. He has done his work well — faith- 
fully, loyally, wisely, lovingly. May it be approved by the 
great Head of the Church, and be a great and lasting blessing 

to our people. 







England under the Georges. — The Churcli in England vs. the Churcli of En- 
gland. — Outline of English State Churchism. — The Reformation, only a partial 
and temporary success in England. — Irreliocious learning. — The Dissenters. — 
State of religion in Scotland. — Ireland. — Methodism a benediction. 



John Westley. — Samuel Wesley. — The mother of the Wesle5-s. — Mrs. "Wes- 
ley's Home School. — 'Mis. Wesley's "Conventicle." — Epworth politics. — A 
brand plucked from the burning. — Samuel Wesley as an author. — The Charter- 
House School. 



Wesley ordained. — John Wesley, "Sometime Fellow of Lincoln College." — 
Charles Wesley, the first "Methodist." — Pious labors of the Holy Club. — George 
Whitefield. — Whitefield at Oxford. — Whitefield's experience of conversion. — 
The doctrines of the Holy Club. — The Holy Club broken up. 



A soul to be saved. — The colony of Georgia. — A word in season. — Wesley's 
scholarship. — Troubles thicken. — An "escape from matrimony." — Wesley's fare- 
well to Georgia 



Whitefield's theology. — Praying without a book. — Whitefield sails for Geor- 
gia. — The conversion of Charles Wesley. — The conversion of John Wesley. — 
Wesley at Herrnhut. — Mrs. Wesley's conversion. 

Contents. 15 



Prison ministry. — Society and banks. — Whitefield's return from America. — 
Power accompanies the Word. 


"the world is my parish." 

Field-preaching. — Bristol and Kingswood. — Wesley takes to the fields. — The 
world is my Parish. — The Kingswood school. — Wesley and Beau Nash. — John 
Wesley and his critics. — Dr. Doddridge on the Methodists. — The "New Room" 
and the "Old Foundry. — Some Moravian heresies — Mr. Wesley leaves the Mo- 
ravian Society. — The Methodist United Soqjety. — Lay-preachers. — Howell Harris. 
— John Cenuick. — Thomas Maxfield. 


the calvinistic controversy. 

Opinions, — Lady Huntingdon. — Trevecca College. — Class-meetings. — The quar- 
terly visitation. — Wesley at Newcastle. — Wesley preaching on his father's 
tomb. — Death of Mrs. Wesley. — Mrs. Wesley's new tomb. 



The Black Country. — Wesley and the Methodists denounced as Papists and 
traitors. — Wesley faces his enemies. — Tlie press-gang. — Caught in his own trap. 
John Nelson. — Nelson impressed for a soldier. 


" fightings without AND FEARS WITHIN." 

The first Methodist Conference. — Wesley's Churchmanship. — Early Methodist 
reading houses. — Methodism carried into Ireland. — Methodism in Cork. — Wesley 
as a disciplinarian. — Wesley's money matters. — The Foundry Bank. — Wesley as a 
medical man. — Another "escape from matrimony." — Marriage and Separation. — 
More matrimony. — Marriage of George Whitefield. 



Adam Clarke. — Ordination of Adam Clarke. — A narrow escape. — Clarke's 
Commentary. — Adam Clarke's views of marriage — Adam Clarke's theology. — 
Gideon Ousley. — Ousley's conversion. — His call to the ministry. — Ousley among 
the Lish peasants. — A sacred language. — A saddle for a pulpit. — Irish Methodist 
emigrants.— Ousley as an author. — M'Quigg and the Irish Bible. 

16 Contents. 



^lethodism in Scotland. — Early Methodist discipline. — Conference roll in 1751. 
— The Rev. John Fletcher. — Checks to Antinomianism. — Fletcher's "appeal." — 
Mrs. Mary Fletciier. — The Fletcher Memorial College and Chapel. — Revolt of the 
American Colonies. — The courtesies of debate. — More Wesleyan politics. — Row- 
land Hill vs. John Wesley. — City Road Chapel. — A decline. — Strength of Meth- 
odism in 1780. 



Wesleyan ordinations. — Alexander Mather ordained as superintendent. — The 
deed of declaration. — A vigorous old age. — Death of Chas. Wesley. — The tomb 
of Chas. Wesley. — Wesleyan hymnology. — Chas. Wesley as a poet. — Wesley and 
the Anti-Slavery Society. — Wm. Wilberforce. — Wesley's last visit to Ireland. — 
The Irish Conference. — Wesley's last circuit. — A brave ride. — Visiting the classes. 
— Wesley's last Conference. — Statistics 1780 to 1790. — Plain words to rich Meth- 
odists. — Death of John Wesley. — Wesley's will. — Wesley's tomb. 



Monument to John and Chas. Wesley in Westminster Abbey. — Dean Stanley 
on John Wesley. — Bishop Simpson's response. — Livingstone and Wesley. — John 
Wesley as a preacher. — Wesley as a scholar. — Wesley's method in theology. 





The heroic age of Methodism. — Methodism a theological reform. — 1776 and 
before. — Robert Strawbridge. — Methodism in New York. — Philip Embury. — The 
first Methodist sermon in New York. — Barbara Heck. — Captain Webb. — The rig- 
ging loft, — The first Methodist Church in America. — Taylor's letter to Wesley. — 
Early Methodism in Philadelphia. — St. George's Church. — Methodist beginning 
in Baltimore. 



Volunteers for America. — Robert Waltham. — Bnardman and Pilmore. — The ar- 
rival of the missionaries at Philadelphia. — Francis Asbury. — Elizabeth Asbury. — 
Asbuiy's views on itinerancy. — Rankin and Shad ford. — First Methodist Confer- 

Contents. 17 

«nce iu America. — Asbury settles the Societies in Baltimore. — Strawberry Alley. 
— Lovely Lane. — The last missionaries from England. — Whitefield's last visit to 
America. — Whitefield's slave. — The quadruple alliance. 



Wesley's " Calm Address." — William Watters. — Philip Gatch. — Benj. Abbott.- 
•Gough of Perry Hall. — The second American Conference. — Freeborn Garrettson. 
— A prison for a i)u1pit. — A great revival in Virginia. — Asbury in seclusion. — The 
English missionaries depart. — Otterbein and the United Brethren. 



War versus religion. — Asbury again at the front. — An ordained Wesleyan min- 
istry. — The Rev. Thomas Coke, LL.D. — Dr. Coke becomes a Methodist. — Dr. 
Coke and. Methodist Missions. — A missionary vpife. — Coke's Commentary. — Dr. 
•Coke and the Irish Conference. — British Wesleyan Home Missions. — Missions 
among French prisoners of war. — Dr. Coke's last mission. — Richard Whatcoat. — 
Thomas Vasey. — Rev. James Creighton. — The validity of American Episcopacy, 



Black Harry. — The Christmas Conference. — Election and consecration of 
Bishop Asbury. — The Methodist Discipline. — On slavery. — On baptism. — Preach- 
ers' fund. — The first home mission fund. — Statistics, 1875. 



Bishop Coke an Abolitionist. — The first Southern Conference. — Visit of Bishops 
Coke and Asbury to Washington at Mount Vernon. — Bishop Coke departs for 
England. — Wesley's defense of Bisliop Coke. — Bishop Coke's second visit to the 
United States. — Cokesbury College. — A dancing-hall transformed into a Method- 
ist school-house. — The old Light-street parsonage. — Pioneering. — Has he a horse? 
— Riciimond NoUey. — Asbury's episcopal discipline. — The first Conference in New 
y,,ik. — Encouraging reports. — Revival scenes. — O'Kelly and the "Republican 
MtUi' dist Church," — Thomas Ware. 



Tiie first Methodist Societies in New England. — Methodism an intruder in New 
England.— The Calvinistic controversy again. — Asbury among the sons of the 
Pib'-rims. — IMetliodism in Boston. — Jesse Lee.— The first Conference in New 


Englaiul. — Tlie Wcsleyan Academy.— Minor Raymoml, D. D. — The We.'^leyaiv 
L'niversity.— Wilbur Fisk, D.D.— Stephen Olin, D.D. — '^ Zion's Herald."— Tlio 
Boston University. — Father Taylor, the sailor preacher of Boston. 



Oliio. — Francis M'Cormick. — Aslmry in the Indian country. — Some Method- 
ist geography. — Henry Boelim. — Bishop ArKendree. — Episcopal lu.xury. — James 
B. Finley. — The ]Methodist Episcopal Churcli tlie first temperance society. — 
The North-west. — Fort Dearborn. — ilarsdin's triljute to American Methodism. 



Episcopal gravity and humor. — Asbury a judge of men. — Asbury on matri- 
mony. — Asbury's last sermon. — Bishop Ge rge. — Bishop Roberts. — Bishoji Hed- 
ding. — The radical movement. — The iMethodist Protestant Church. — Nicholas 
Snethen. — Bishop Emory. — Bishop Waugh. — Bishop Morris. — Alabama. — Mis- 
souri. — Jesse Walker in St. Louis. — South-western Methodism. 



Bisliop Andrew. — Organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church. South. — 
Border troubles. — Methodism during the war. — The Methodist Episcopal 
Church again in the South. — Fraternity re-established. — A memorable day. — 
Meeting of the Joint Commission. — Statistics of the Methodist Episcopal Cliurch, 
Sooth. — Education. 

CHAim^:R XXV. 


Wm. Nast. — Other German missionaiies. — German Methodism in St. Louis. — 
German Conferences organized. — The German missions. — Dr. Jacoby. — Dr. Liel)- 
hart. — The institutions of German Metliodism. — Present condition and influence 
of German IMethodism. 



Pacific Coast Methodism. — Oregon. — California. — Methodism in Mormondom. 
— Bishop Hamlinc. — Bishop Janes. — Bishop Baker. — Bishop Ames. — Bishop 
Burns. — Bishop Roberts. — BisIiop Clark. — Bisliop Thomson. — Bishop Kingsley. — 
Lay Delegation. — Tlie Ce:iU'nnial of American Methodism. — Centennial statistics.. 
— Other Methodist bodies. 

ContejSTts. 19 



Bishop Scott. — Bishop 8iiii|)son. — Bisliop Bowiiian. — Bishop Hiirris. — Bishop 
Foster. — Bishop Wiley. — Bisiiop Meri'lU. — Bishop Andrews. — Bisliop Haven. — 
Bishop Peck.— General Conference Officers, — The Book Concern, — The Book 
.Vsjcnts. — Reuben Nelson, D.D. — John M. Phillips. — Tiie Rev. Sandford Hunt, 
D.D.— Luke Hitchcock, D.D.— John M. Walden, D.D., LL.D.— The Missionary 
Society.— John P. Durbin, D.D.— Thos. M. Eddy, D.D.— The Rev. R. L. Dashiell, 
D.D.— The Rev. J. Morrison Reid, D.D.— Sunday-schools.— John H. Vincent, D.D. 
—The Rev. Richard Sutton Rust, D.D.— The Rev. Alpha J. Kynetf, D.D.— The 
Woman's Foreign Missionary Society. — The Editorial Staff. — Rev. Daniel Deni- 
son Wliedon, D.D.— Tiie Rev. Daniel Curry, D.D. —The Rev. Charles H. Fowler, 
D.D., LL.D.— Francis S. Hoyt, D.D.— Rev. Dr. O. H. Warren.- The Rev. Alford 
Wheeler, M.T>., D.D.— Arthur Edwards, D.D. —Rev. Benjamin St. .James Fry, 
D.D. —Rev. H. C. Benson, D.D.— Rev. J. H. Acton, D.D.— Rev. J. C. Hartzell, D.D. 



After John Wesley what? — Hostilities resumed. — Episcopal party. — "Super- 
intendent" Mather. — "Alarming- Progress of ]\Iethodism." — "Superfluous jMeth- 
odist Pre-'chers."— Metliodist ordinations. — Bunting, the Prime-Minister of En- 
glisli Mctiiodism. — Bunting and Lay Representation. — Robert Newton. — Cente- 
narv of British Methodism. — The Wesleyan Theological Institution. — Rev. Geo. 
Osborn, D.D.— The Didsbury Branch.— Rev. William B. Pope, D.D.— Rev. Dr. 
WiiiiX. — W^esleyaii Missions. — Rev. Win. Morley Punshon, LL.D. — Rev. Wm. Ar- 
tliur. M.A — iletropolitan Chapel Fund.— Rev. Gervase Smitli, D.D. — Rev. Fred- 
erick Jobson, D.D. — Wesleyan Book and Periodical Editor. — Rev. Benj. Greir- 
..-v. I)D. 



.Mis-ion in Newfoundland.— Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. — Metliodisni 
in Canada West. — Rev. William Case, tiie Father of Canadian Missions. — British 
We>leyanism in Canada.— Rev. Egerton Ryerson, D.D., LL.D. — Rev. Enoch 
Wood, D.D.— Rev. Humphrey Pickard, D.D. —Rev. Ale.x. Sutlierland, D.D.— 
Rev. Edward Hartly Dewart, D. I).— Rev. Wm. Briggs.— Rev. Duncas Dunbar 
Curry, D.D— IN-v. Geo. Douglas, LL.D— Bishop Carman.— Rev. S. Y. Stors, D.D. 
— Austi':d.isi;in Conference. 


General summary of 31cthodists throughout the world. — Comparative growth 
of American Churches from 1766 to 1876.— Growth of lay membership compared 
with that of po])ulation. — The ]\Iethodist Episcopal Church in the Southern 
States. — Theological institutions.— Universities and colleges. — Bishops of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. — Conference summaries.— Female Colleges and 
Academies. — Conclusion. — The overflow of Methodism. 



Abbott Preaching in the Jersey Woods. 437 
A "Black Country" "Welcome, (Wesley 

at Wednesbury) 209 

A Brand Plucked from the Burning.... 72 

A Brave Ride 3.'57 

Adam CLrke 25G 

A Double-Decked Meeting-House 234 

A Frontier Eesidence 616 

A Map of tlie Savannah Country in 1740. 104 

A Modern Prison Chapel 149 

Among the Swiss Mountains 286 

A New-gate Congregation 148 

An Inhospitable Country 222 

Au Irish Funeral 271 

An Irish Hovel 276 

A Roadside Sermon in the Saddle 267 

Arresting a Methodist 454 

Armiuius 187 

Arthur, Rev. Wm 762 

A " Saddle-Bags " Man 519 

Asbury and Wasliiugton 463 

A Southern Swamp 115 

A Yiew in the Black Country — Dudley 

nt Night 207 

A Word in Season 110 

Barbara Heck 383 

Bishop Ames 689 

Bishop Andrews 714 

Bishop Baker 686 

Bishop Bowman 708 

Bishop Burns 691 

BLshop Clark 694 

Bishop Kmory 611 

Bishop Fo.'iter . 711 

Bishi.p George 598 

Bi-shup HamUue 083 

Bishop Harris 710 

Bishop Maven 716 

Bishop Hedding 603 

Bisliop Janes 684 

Bi.-^hop Kingsley 698 

BislK'p Kingsloy's Monument 699 


Bishop Merrill. 713 

Bishop M'Kendree 569 

Bishop Pierce 648 

Bisliop Roberts 600 

Bishop Scott 704 

Bishop Simpson 706 

Bishop Soule 621 

Bishop Thomson 696 

Bishop Waugh 612 

Bishop Whatcoat 481 

Bishop Wiley 712 

Bocardo 87 

Bunting, Rev. Jabez 745 

Captain Webb 386 

Carman, Rev. Albert, D.D., Bishop of the 

Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada 777 

Case, Rev. Wm 770 

Centenary Church, South. St. Louis. Mo. 645 

Chapel of Lincoln College 83 

Charles Wesley's Tomb 327 

Cliicago in Ruins 737 

Clirist Church Meadow 103 

Cincinnati Wesleyan College 573 

City Road Chapel 306 

Cromwell, Oliver 49 

David Seth Doggett. D.D r,.-.o 

Dickinson College 730 

Dining-Hall of Charter House 77 

Dining Hail of Christ Church College. . . 56 

Dr. Johnson 295 

Dunmore Castle, Coast of .^yr. Scothind. 281 

Durbin, Rev. John P 728 

Eddy, Rev. Thomas M 7 9 

Edward T. Taylor 562 

Elizabeth Asbury— The Mother of Bish- 
op Asbury -113 

Elizabeth Fry 147 

Embury's House 382 

Entrance to the Hall of Christ Church 

College, O.xford 54 

Enocli M. Marvin. DP 6.^4 

List of Illustrations. 



First Methodist Sermon in Baltimore, 401, 501 

First Mflhodist Conference 422 

First Methodist Sermon in Baltimore. . . 501 
First Metliodist Preaching House in Bos- 
ton 537 

Fletcher, John 279 

Francis Asbury 409 

Freeborn Garrettson 449 

Frontispiece of Part III 744 

Gateway of St. Mary's Church, Oxford . . 97 

George III 297 

Gibraltar 128 

Grace M. E. Church, Wilmington, Del. . 4P.8 
Graves of Bishops Asbury, George, Em- 
ory, and Waugh 620 

Hartley Preaching in Prison 450 

Healey on the Athlone Circuit 236 

Heck Hall, Garrett Biblical Institute, 

Evanstou, 111 701 

Henry B. Bascom, D.D 640 

Holland Nimmonds M'Tyeire, D.D 656 

Home of Asbnry's Ciiildhood 411 

Howard-Street M. B. Church, San Fran- 
cisco, Cal 677 

Hubbard Hinds Kavanaugh, D.D 646 

Illinois Wesleyan University 740 

Interior of Fetter Lane Chapel, 1867 153 

Interior of Old Strawberry Alley M. E. 

Church 425 

Interior of Present City Road Cliapel, 

London 307 

Interior of St. Mary's Church 95 

Isaac Watts 329 

James B. Finley 583 

James Osgood Andrew 627 

Jesse Lee Preaching Under the Old Elm 

on Boston Common 536 

Jobson, Rev. Frederick 764 

John Calvin, (From an old Portrait) .... 186 

John Christian Keener 658 

John Early, D.D 643 

John Knox's Churcli in Edinburgh 59 

John Knox 57 

John Nelson 218 

John Taylor's Penance 255 

John Wesley at Fortj'^ Years of Age. . . . 203 

Jolin Wesley and Count Zinzendorf 143 

John We.^'tley, Grandfather of John and 

Charles Wesley 

"Lady Huntingdon 194 

Livingstone 354 

Lovely Lane M. E. Church, Baltimore. . . 492 

Madeley Church 288 

Mamwood Cottage, Handsworth, Stafford- 
shire, England, in which Asbury com- 
menced his Itinerant Ministry 4 94 

Martyrs' Memorial 52 

Meridian-street Methodist Episcopal 

Church, Indianapolis 568 

Methodist Book Concern, 805 Broadway, 

New York 720 

Methodist Episcopal Clnircli, Morris- 
town, N. J 524 

Metliodist Episcopal Church, Salt Lake 

City 678 

Methodist Protestant Church, Pittsburgh 609 

Metropolitan Memorial M. E. Church, 

Washington, D. C 461 

Monumental Tablets in the St. George's 

M. E. Church, Philadelphia 399 

Mount Vernon Place M. B. Church, Bal- 
timore 402 

Mr. Weslej^'s Monument 205 

New Kingswood School 169 

Nicholas Snetheu 608 

Old Newgate Prison, London 136 

Old " Wesley Chapel," John-street, New 

York 379 

Orphan-House, Wesleyan Schools, New- 
castle. (On the site of the old Orphan- 
House) 201 

"Parson" Butler's Attack on the Meth- 
odist Chapel at Cork 226 

Pembroke College Tower 94 

Peter Cartwright, D.D 680 

Pliilip Doddridge 176 

Piiilip Embury 380 

Pickard, Rev. Humphrey 773 

Pope, Rev. Wm. B 757 

Portrait of Henry Boehm 578 

Procession of Religious Criminals on their 

way to Prison 50 

Punshon, Rev. Wm. Morley 760 

Quadrangle of Lincoln College 84 

62 Radcliffe Librar.y, Oxford 85 


List of Illustratioxs. 

Rev. Arthur Penrhyn Stauley, D.D., LL.D. 350" 

Rev. John Stiramerfield 703 

Rev. John Wesley, at tlie age of 23. . . . 82 
Rev. John Wright Roberts, Bishop of 

Liberia 692 

Rev. Philip William Otterbein 460 

Rev. Reuben Xelson, D.D 723 

Richard Boardman, Joseph Pilmoor .... 404 

Robert Strawbridge 375 

Robert Paine, D.D 635 

Rowland Hill 303 

Ryerson, Rev. Egerton 771 

Smith, Rev. Gcrvase 763 

Some of the Prisoners 88 

South Coast of England 161 

South Leigh Church 134 

St. Mary's Church, 0.-?ford 89 

Stephen Olin. D.D 559 

St. George's Church, Philadelphia 397 

St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church, 

New York 403 

Strawbridge's Log Chapel ou Sam's 

Creek, Maryland 369 

Susanna Aunesley 64 

Susanna Wesley, Mother of John Wesley 60 

The Broad Walk, Oxford 

The Charter House School 

The Church Lot in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. 
The Dr. Coke Memorial Schools, Brecon. 
The Fletcher Memorial College and 

Chapel at Lausanne 

The German Methodist Book Concern and 

Tract House, Bremen 

The John Dickins Tablet 

The Late Henry Slicer, D.D 

The Man-of-War Class-Meeting 

The Xew Rectory at Epworth 







689 1 



The Old Foundry 177 

The Old Light-street Parsonage 513 

The Rigging Loft 389 

The Stone Chapel 377 

The Young Pretender 70 

Thomas Coke 470 

Thomas Rankin 418 

Thomas Ware 529 

Trevecca College 197 

Union M. E. Church, St. Louis 590 

View Among the Thousand Islands ... 767 

Watson, Rev. Richard .^i. 750 

Wesleyau Association Buildiij^, (Brom- 

field-street, Boston) 560 

Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham, Mass. 

553, 554 

Wesley and Beau Nash 171 

Wesleyan Theological Institution at Rich- 

mand, near London 756 

Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn. 557 
Wesley Preaching ou his Father's Tomb 185 
Weslej^'s Orphan-House at Newcastle. .. 200 
Wesley's Tomb, Burial Ground, City 

Road Chapel 345 

Wesley's Tree 335 

West Front of Christ Church College, 

Oxford 79 

Westminster Abbey — North View 368 

Whitefield at the age of Tvvenij--four. . 91 

Whitefield, George 426 

Whitefield's Last Exhonation 434 

Wilbur Fisk, D.D 556 

William Capers 630 

Willamette Universit}-, Salem, Oregon.. . 672 

William M. Wightman, D.D., LL.D 652 

William Wilberforce 331 


Map of the Thirteen Colonies 32, 436 

Map of the United States, from the Close 
of the Revolution to the Purchase of 

Louisiana, 1783-1803 462 

Map of Great Britain and Ireland 31 

Map of the United States 33-36 

Chart, showing the Tour of Bishop Harris 
in the Eastern Hemisphere on his ilis- 
si"5nary Circuit of the Globe 37-40 

Lithographic Chart, showing the ratio of 
Church accommodation in the United 
States 778 



A Bran'l Plucked from the Burning 71 

A Church for the New Nation 464 

"Act for Abolishing Diversity of Opin- 
ions" 49 

■"Act of Toleration " 51 

"Act of Uniformity " 61 

Acton, Rev. J. H 740 

Adam Clarke 256 

Adam Clarke's Theology '. . . 264 

Adam Clarke's Views of Marriage 263 

A Dancing-Hall Transformed iuto a Meth- 
odist School-house 512 

A Decline 308 

After John Wesley, What? 745 

A Great Revival in Virginia 450 

A Groan from ''Edinburgh Review "... 751 

Alabama 616 

Alarming Progress of Methodism 750 

Alexander Mather Ordained as Superin- 
tendent 314 

Ames, Bishop 639 

A Missionary Wife 475 

A Narrow Escape 261 

1766 and Before 374 

"An Escape from Matrimony " 115 

An Ordained Wesleyan Ministry 467 

Another " Escape from Matrimony ".. . . -45 
Antislavery Incident related by Mr. Wes- 
ley \ 332 

Appointment of Adam Clarke and Wife 
to the charge of the Dublin Circuit. . . 334 

A Prison for a Pulpit 449 

Arthur, Rev. Wm 761 

A Sacred Language 272 

A Saddle for a Pulpit 273 

Asbury again at the Front 465 

Asbury a Judge of Men 592 

Asbury among the Sons of the Pilgrims. 542 

Asbury in Seclusion 454 

Asbury in the Indian Country 575 

Asbury on Matrimony 593 

Asbury "Settles" the Societies in Balti- 
more 424 

Asbury's Episcopal Discipline 521 

.Asbury's Last Sermon 594 

Asbury's Views on Itinerancy 415 

A Soul to be Saved 104 

A Vigorous Old Age 324 

A Word in Season 110 

A Worthy Climax to a Glorious Career.. 312 

Ball, Joseph, a Baptist Deacon 538 

Bangs, Quotation from 396 

Bangs, Rev. Nathan 586,727 

Barbara Heck 382 

Barnard, Sir J ohn 53 

Benjamin Abbott 440 

Benson, Rev. H 740 

Bishop Ames 687 

Bishop Andrew 625 

Bishop Andrews 714 

Bisliop Asbury and his Early Successors 

— Methodism in tlie South-west 590 

Bishop Asbury — incident in connection 

with John Dickins' family 722 

Bishop Baker 685 

Bishop Bowman 707 

Bishop Burnet on Ordination in State 

Church 53 

Bishop Butler. Quotation, "Analogy". 53 

Bishop Carman 776 

Bishop Clark 693 

Bishop Coke 503 

Bishop Coke an Abolitionist 503 

Bishop Coke Departs for England 506 

Bishop Coke's Second Visit to the United 

States 507 

Bishop Emory 610 

Bishop Foster 710 

Bishop George 597 

Bishop Hamliue 682 

Bishop Harris lOd 




Bishop Haven 715 

Bisliop Heddiug — the Radical movemeut 603 

Bishop Janes 684 

Bishop Kingrsley 698 

Bishop Merrill 712 

Bishop M'Kendree 578 

Bishop Morris 613 

Bishop Morris' Account of Jesse Walk- 
er's Work 618 

Bishop of Lichfield on State of Religion 

in England 53 

Bishop Peck 717 

Bishop Peek, Quotation from 674, 676 

Bishop Roberts 692 

Bishop Scott 705 

Bishop Simpson 705 

Bishop Simpson's Reply to Address of 

Dean Stanley on John Wesley 353 

Bishop Thomson 695 

Bishop Waugh 612 

Bishop Wiley Vl 1 

Black Harry ^ 493 

Black, William 546 

Boardman and Pilmoor 405 

Bond, Rev. John W. ; His Opinion of Bish- 
op Asbury 591 

Border Troubles 635 

Boston's Criticisms on Whitefield 546 

Briggs, Rev. Wm 776 

Bristol and Kingswood 163 

British Methodism 745 

British Wesleyan Home Missions 477 

British Wesleyanism in Canada 772 

Bruiison, Dr. Alfred ' . 586 

Bunting and Lay Representation 754 

Bunting, Rev. Jabez.. 753 

Burke, William: Incident by 574 

California G75 

Captain Webb 386 

CapUiin Webb's Labors in England for 

American Methodism 391 

Captain Webb's Labors on Long Island, 
in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsyl- 
vania 391 

Carver, W 680, Rev. Wm 770 

Caught in his Own Trap 216 

Cenuick's, John, Work in Dublin 235 

Centenary of British Methodism 755 

Centennial Statistics 702 

Charles Wesley and the ShefiBeld Mob. . 208 


Charles Wesley as a Poet 328 

Charles Wesley the first " Methodist". . 8S 

Ciiaplain M'Cabe 734 

Checks to Antinomianism 290' 

Chicago Fire — Methodist Relief Fund.. . 736 
Cliichester, Bishop of; Letter to Young 

Clergyman 55- 

City Road Chapel 305 

Clarke's Commentarj- 26 J 

Clark, John 585 

Class-meetings 198 

Cokesbury College 509' 

Coke's Commentary 476 

Colonial Methodism 767 

Conclusion 784 

Conference Roll in 1751 284 

Conferences during 1789 524 

" Conventicle Act " 68 

Convention of Reformers 607 

Credentials of "Superintendent" Coke. . 485- 

Crooks, Rev. Dr. George R 69^ 

Curry, Daniel, D.D., Quotations from .. . 693 

Curry, Rev. Daniel 735 

Curry, Rev. Duncan Dunb;ir 776 

" Cyclopaedia of Methodism " 707 

Damon, Rev. W. C 680 

Dashiell, Rev. R. L 729 

Dean Stanley on John Wesley 350' 

Death of Charles Wesley 326 

Death of John Wesley 343 

Death of Mrs. Wesley 204 

Declaration and Basis of Fraternity 653^ 

Dclamotte, Wesley's Companion in Geor- 
gia 106 

De Piiy, Rev. W. H 738 

Destruction of the Bath Society, and nar- 
row escape of Wesleyan Methodism . . 310 

Dewart, Rev. Edward Hartley 775 

Dickins, John 720 

Doering, C. H 663 

Dorciiester, Rev. Dr., Quotations from. . 539 

Douglas, Rev. Geo 776 

Dow, Lorenzo 616 

Drapp's, Rev. Joseph, Criticism on John 

Wesley 113 

Dr. Coke and Methodist Missions 473 

Dr. Coke and the Irish Conference 476 

Dr. Coke becomes a Methodist 472 

Dr. Coke's Last Mission 478 

Dr. Doddridge on the Metliodists 175 

Dr. Fowler, Quotation from 690 




Dr. Jacoby 660 

Dr. Johnson 295 

Dr. Myers, Quotation from 629 

Dr. Rigg, Quotation from 118 

Durbiu, Rev. John P 727 

Early Methodism in New 'Engiand 537 

Early Methodism in Philadelphia 390 

Early Methodist Discipline 282 

Early Methodist Preachirig-Houses 233 

Eddy, Rev. Thomas M 728 

Education 657 

Edwards, Dr. Jonathan, on Revival under 

his Ministry 158 

Edwards, Jonathan, on Condition of the 

Churches in New England 540 

Edwards, Rev. Arthur 739 

Election and Consecration of Bishop As- 

bury 490 

Embury, Philip 241 

Emily Wesley; Letter to her brother 

John on Auricular Confession 90 

Emory, Quotation from 501 

Encouraging Reports 524 

Episcopal Gravity and Humor 590 

Episcopal Luxury 582 

Epworth Politics 09 

Erection of Portland Chapel in 1792 392 

Erskine, Rev. Ralph, concerning "Bodily 

Exercises '' in sudden Conversions. ... lOO 

Father Taylor, the Sailor Preacher of Bos- 
ton 562 

" Fetter Lane Society." 151 

Field Preaching 162 

Fightings Without and Fears Within. . . 226 
First General Conference of Church 

South 637 

First Kentucky District 570 

First Kentucky Conference, 1790 570 

First Methodist in Boston 551 

First Methodist Society in Indiana 585 

First Mission Conference in Germany. . . 667 

First New Jersey Conference 524 

First Western Conference, 1788 570 

Fletcher's A ppeal 291 

Fort Dearborn 588 

Foss, Rev. Cyrus D. ; Author's obliga- 
tions to 559 

Fowler, Rev. Dr. Charles H 678, 736 

Francis Asburj' 408 

Francis Burns 690 


Francis M'Cormick 573 

Fraternity an Actual Fact 649 

Fraternity Re-established 642' 

Freeborn Garrettson 448 

Fry, Rev. Benjamin St. James 739 

Fuller, K. Q., D.D., Quotation from 632- 

Fuller, Rev. B. Q 742 

General Conference of 1848 636 

General Conference Officers — The Book 

Concern 719 

George Shndford 419 

George Whitefield 91 

George Whitefield, Death of, in America 

in 1770 42T 

German Conferences Organized 664 

German Melliodism 659 

German Methodism in St. Louis 663 

German Sunday-school and Tract Depart- 
ment 667 

Gibson, Edmund, Bishop of London, 

Criticism on John Wesley 173 

Gideon Ouseley 266 

Goodrich, Hon. Grant, Quotation from 

Letter 589 

Gough, of Perry Hall 446 

Gregory, Rev. Benjamin 765 

Guier, Philip 241 

Hamilton, Quotation from 545, 546 

Hamilton, Rev. W., Quotation from .... 511 

Hamline, Mrs. Bis^hop 683 

Hartzell, Rev. J. C 741 

Hartzell Rev, J. C, Quotation from Ser- 
mon of 623 

Has he a Horse ? 518 

Hatfield, Rev. Dr. Robert M 678 

Heath, Rev. Mr., his Call to the Ministry 269 
Heath, Rev. Mr., President of Cokesbury 

College 510 

Henry Boehm 577 

High-Church Party vs. Dissenters 746 

Hitchcock, Rev. Luke, D.D 724 

Hopkey, Miss Sophia Christiana 116 

Hostilities Resumed 747 

Hoyt, Rev. F. S 738 

Huntingdon's, Lady, fear of the Heresy 

of Free Grace in Trevecca College. . . . 28^ 
Hunt, Rev. Saudford, D.D 724 

Influential Friends 458 

In Memoriam 349 




Irelaud 58 

Irish Methodist Emigrants 277 

Irreligious Learning 55 

Jackson, Quotation from i:5] 

James B. Finley 582 

Jameson, J. M 680 

Jesse Lee 54G 

Jesse "Walker in St. Louis 617 

Jobson, Rev. Frederick 764 

Jobson, Rev. Frederick, D.D., Quotation 

from 350 

John Cennick 183 

John M. Phillips 723 

John M. Waldeu 725 

John Nelson 218 

John "Wesley and his Critics 172 

John "Wesley as a Preacher 355 

John "Wesley; "Sometime Fellow of Lin- 
coln College" 82 

Kidder, Rev. D. P YBl 

King, John, the First Methodist Preach- 
er in Baltimore 40ii 

King, the Dissenter 23 

Knox, John 5 

Kobler, John 57 

Kynett, Rev. A. J 733 

" Ladies' Repository." 693 

Lady Huntingdon 195 

Later Characters and Events 672 

Lay Delegation 700 

Lay Preachers — Howell Harris 182 

Lecky on Scotch Taste in Religion.. ... 57 
Lecky on Theology in Churches of the 

Estabhshment 53 

Lee, Jason 673 

Letter from George Heck to the Author. 383 

Liebhart, Rev. H 742 

List of Wesley's "Works 360 

Livingstone and Wesley 354 

Lord Sidmouth's Act 751 

Losee, Rev. Wm 769 

Lovely Lane 426 

Ludwig Nicholas, Count of Zinzendorf. . 143 

Luke Hitchcock, D.D 724 

L3'^on, Christian. ... 6G3. 

Macaulay's Estimate of John Wesley. . . 349 

Male Free School, Baltimore 514 

Marriage and Separation 248 


Marriage of George Whitetield 253 

Marsden's Tribute to American Method- 
ism 589 

M'Cabe, Rev. Dr. C. C. — " Chaplain 

M'Cabe" 681 

Meeting of the Joint Commission 652 

Mead's, Prof., Opinion of Effect of Meth- 
odism on Congregationalism 542 

M'Eldowny, Rev. J., D.D 681 

Metliodism a Benediction 58 

Methodism and the American Revolu- 
tion 437 

Methodism an Intruder in New England. 539 

Methodism a Theological Reform 373 

Methodism Carried into Ireland 233 

Methodism During the War 638 

Methodism in Boston. 545 

Methodism in Cork 237 

Methodism in Mormondom 678 

Methodism in New York 378 

Methodism in Nova Scotia and New 

Brunswick 768 

Methodism in Scotland 279 

Methodism, Ordination 753 

Methodism Transplanted to America... 369 

Methodist Beginnings in Baltimore 400 

Methodist Chapels in England, Ireland, 

and Scotland in 1784 312 

Methodist Theological Seminary 667 

Minor Raymond, D.D 554 

Minutes of the Conference of 1747 232 

Mission in Newfoundland 768 

Missions among French Prisoners of 

War 477 

Missouri 617 

Mitcheh, William 586 

M'Nabb, Alexander, expelled by Wesley 
for believing that the Conferences 

should make Appointments * . . 309 

Molesworth, Lord 480 

Montesquieu, "Notes on England " 53 

Monument to John and Charles Wesley 

in Westminster Abbey 349 

Moravian Notion of " Quietism" 179 

More Matrimony 253 

More Wesleyan Politics. ... 302 

Mormon Editor on the Methodists 679 

M'Quigg and the Irish Bible 278 

Mrs. Mary Fletcher 292 

Mrs. Wesley's " Conventicle " 66 

Mrs. Wesley's Conversion 145 

Mrs. Wesley's Home School 66 




Mrs. Wesley's Letter to her Son " Jackey " 81 

Mrs. Wesley's New Tomb 205 

Mr, Wesley leaves the Moravian Society. 180 
Mr. Wesley's Estimation of the Vicar of 

Madeley 294 

Mr. Wesley's Letter to the Conference, 

to be read after his Death .^24 

M'Tyeire, Bishop, Incident by 520 

Murraj', Grace 245 

Nast, Rev. W 742 

Nelson Impressed for a Soldier 223 

Nelson, Rev. Reuben, D.D 723 

New England Annual Conferences Di- 
vided 62G 

Newman, Rev. Dr. J. P G40 

Newton, Rev. Robert, D.D 025, 754 

"New York Tribune," Sept. 25, 1870, 

Quotation from 624 

Nicholas Suethen 608 

"No Popery" 51 

Notes from Wesley's Journal on Irish 

Conference 333 

■Ogle, Captaiu Joseph 585 

Oglesby, Joseph 617 

Oglethorpe, James Edward 105 

Ohio 571 

O'Kelly and the '■Republican Metliodist 

Chureii" 526 

On Baptism 500 

Ou Slavery 499 

Opinions ! Opinions ! 1 85 

Ordination of Adam Clarke 259 

Organization of the Methodist Episcopal 

Church, South 632 

Osborn. D.D., Rev. George 757 

Other German Missionaries 661 

Other Methodist Bodies 702 

Otterbein and the United Brethren 459 

Ouseley as an Author 277 

Ouseley's Conversion 268 

Ouseley's Ministry among the Irish Peas- 
ants 269 

Pacific Coast Methodism — Oregon 673 

Peck, Dr. Jesse T 677 

Peck, Rev. Nathan R 677 

Persecution of Methodists in Cork under 

Butler 238 

Persecution of the Methodists in Staf- 
fordshire 213 


Philip Embury 381 

Philip Gatch 440 

Philhps, John M 723 

Pickard, Rev. Humphrey 773 

Pierce, Rev. Dr. Lovick 637 

Pierce, Rev. Gustavus M 678 

Pierc3, Quotation from 47 7 

Pioneering 517 

Pious Labors of the Holy Club 87 

Plain Words to Rich Methodists 339 

Plan of Pacification 749 

•■ Plan of Separation " 631 

Pope, Rev. Wm. B 757 

Power Accompanies tlie Word 162 

Praying without a Book 129 

Preachers' Fund 501 

Preamble and Resolutions Adopted by 
General Conference of Slave-holding 

Slates 633 

Present Condition and Influence of Ger- 
man Methodism 

Prison Ministry 

Progress under Difficulties 

Punshou, Rev. Wm. Morley 

Rankin and Shadford 

Redford, Quotation from 

Reformation under Henry VIII 

Reid, Rev. J. Morrison, D.D 728, 

Report of Committee on Church Organi- 

Resolution of Revs. J. B. Finley aud 
J. M. Trimble 

Reuben Nelson, D.D 

Revival Scenes 

Rev. James Creighton 

Revolt of the American Colonies. 

Richard Whatcoat 

Richmond Nolly 

Rigg, Rev. Jas. H 

Roberts, Rev. William 

Robert Strawbridge 

Robert Williams 

Rowland Hill vs. John Wesley 

Rules for the Adjustment of Adverse 
Claims to Church Property 

Rust, Rev. R. S 

Ryerson. Rev. Edgerton 

Samuel Wostley 

Samuel Westley as an Author. 
Sandford, Quotations from. . . . 
















Second Convention of the Reformers. . . 608 

Section of " Discipline " on Slavery 623 

Sejmour, James B 680 

Sherman, Quotation from 552 

Simpson's '•Cyclopaedia," Quotations from 561 

Sinclair, Elder John, Incident by 588 

Smith, Penelope Goulding 475 

Smith, Rev. Gervase 763 

Societies and Bands 150 

Some Alarming Statistics 752 

Some Methodist Geography 576 

Some Moravian Heresies 179 

Soule, Bishop 621 

Souihey's Estimate of John Wesley 349 

State of Religion in Scotland 57 

Stanley, Dean 59 

Statistics . 778 

Statistics— 1780 to 1790 338 

Statistics, 1785 502 

Statistics of the German Conferences of 

the M. E. Church 670 

Statistics of tiie Methodist Episcopal 

Church, South 657 

Stephen Olin, D.D 558 

Stevens, Quotation from. . .215, 423, 506, 540 

St. George's Church 397 

Stone, Rev. S. G 777 

Stormy Da_vs for Methodism 207 

Strawberry Alley 425 

Strengtli of Methodism in 1780 311 

Sunday-Schools 730 

Superfluous Methodist Preachers 751 

Sutherland, Rev. Alexander 774 

Table T. — General Summary of Methodists 
throughout the World 778 

Table IL— Growth of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church by decades 779 

Table III. — Comparative Growth of Amer- 
ican Churches from 1776 to 1876 780 

Table IV. — Growth of Membersiiip com- 
pared with tiiat of Population 780 

Table Y. — The Methodist Epis-copal 
Church in the Southern States 780 

Table VI. — Theological Institutes of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church 781 

Table VII. — Universities and Colleges of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church 782 

Table VIII.— Bishops of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church 782 

Table IX. — Conference Seminaries, Fe- 
male Colleges and Academies 783 

Taylor's Letter to Wesley 

The Arrival of the Missionaries at Phila- 

The Black Country 

The Bishop of North America 

Tne Book Agents 

The Boston University. 

''The California Christian Advocate "'. . . 

The Calvinistic Controversy Again 

The Calvinistic Controversy, etc 

The Centennial of American Methodism . . 

Tlie Charier- House School 

The Christmas Conference 

The Colony of Georgia 

The Conversion of Charles Wesley 

The Conversion of Rev. John Weyley. .. 

The Courtesies of Debate 

The Deed of Declaration 

The Dissenters 

The Doctrines of the Holy Club 

The English Missionaries 

The English Missionaries Depart 

The Episcopal Party 

The First Conference iu New England. . . 

The First Conference in New York 

The First Home Mission Fund 

The First Irish Conference 

The First Methodist Church in America . 

The First Methodist Conference 

The First Methodist Conference in Amer- 

The First Methodist Sermon in New 

The First Methodist Societies in New 

The First Southern Conference 

Tlie Fletcher Memorial College and 

The Foundry Bank 

The German Mission 

The Gospel in Word and in Power 

The "Gospel Magazine " edited by Top- 

The " Half-way Covenant " 

The " Heroic Age " of Methodism 

The Holy Club 

The Holy Club Broken Up 

The Institutions of German Methodism. 

The Irish Conference 

The Kingsv.'ood School 

The Last Missionaries from England. . . . 

The Legal Hundred 















" Tlie Melliodist " G99 

"The Methodist Cliurch" GIO 

The Metliodist Discipline 498 

Tho Methodist P^piscopal Cluirch 492 

The Methodist Episcopal Church Again 

in the South G.'iS 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South. G21 
The Methodist Episcopal Church — the 

First Temperance Society 583 

The Methodist Protestant Church 607 

The Methodist '• United Society " 181 

The Metropolitan Chapel Fund 762 

The Missionary Society 721, 724 

Tho Mission to America 1 04 

Tlie Moravians 109 

The Mother of the Wesleys 64 

The "New Room" and the "Old Found- 
ry" 176 

The North-west 585 

The Old Light-street Parsonage 513 

"The Pacific Christian Advocate".. . . . 674 

The Palatines 241 

The Press-gang 215 

The Quadruple Alliance 432 

The Quarterly Visitation 199 

The Rev. John Fletcher 285 

The Rev. Sandford Hunt, D.D 724 

The Rev. Thomas Coke, LL.D 469 

The Rigging Loft 388 

The Second American Conference 448 

The Staflf of the Methodist Episcopal 

Church : Statistics 704 

The Tomb of Charles Wesley 326 

The " United Brethren " 144 

The Validity of Methodist Episcopacy. . 48G 

The Wesleyan Academy 553 

The Wesleyan University . . . 555 

The Wesley Family GO 

The Willamette University 675 

The Woman's Foreign Missionary So- 
ciety 732 

"The World is my Pariah" 162, 167 

Thomas Maxfiold 1 84 

Thomas, Rtv. Eliezer G77 

Thomas Vasey 482 

Thomas Ware 529 

Toplady, Rev. Augustus M., on Converted 

Ministry 55 

Trevecca College 1 9G 

Trials and Triumphs: Friends and Foes. 279 

Troubles Thicken 112 

Two Ilistorii; Irish Methodists 256 

Two Sorts of Abolitionists in Methodist 

Church C24 

Tyorman, Incident from 113 

Tyerraan, Rev. Luke, A.M., Quotations 
from, 92, 111, 158, 314, 349, 468, 469, 489 

United Labor of Methodists and Presby- 
terians 580 

Vincent, Rev. John H 731 

Visiting the Classes 337 

Visit of Bishops Coke and Asbury to 

Washington, at Mount Vernon 505 

Volunteers for America 404 

Walden, Rev. Joliu M 725 

Walker. Jesse 587, 617 

Wakeley, Quotation from 415 

Warren, Rev. 0. H 738 

War vs. Religion 464 

Watson, Rev. Richard, Concerning "Bod- 
ily P^xercises " in sudden Conversions. 160 

Wesley and Beau 170 

Wesley and the Methodists Denounced ns 

Papists and Traitors 211 

Wesley and the Antislavery Society. . . . 330 

Wesleyan Hyranologj- 327 

Wesleyan Missions 759 

Wesleyan Ordinations 313 

Wesleyan Theological Institution 75G 

Wesley as a Disciplinarian 242 

Wesley as a Medical Man 244 

Wesley as a Politician 297 

Wesley as a Scholar 357 

Wesley at Herrnhut 142 

Wesley at Newcastle 200 

Wesley, Dogmatism 114 

Wesley Faces his Enemies 214 

Wesley, John, Account of his Conversion 136 
Wesley, John, Enters Christ Church Col- 
lege 79 

Wesley Ordained 80 

Wesley Preaching on his Father's Tomb, 202 

Wesley takes to the Fields 165 

Wesley's Churchmauship 230 

Wesley's "Calm Address" to the British 

Colonies in North America 437 

Wesley's Clerical Friends 313 

Wesley's Defense of Bishop Coke 507 

Wesley's Farewell to Georgia 120 

Wesley's, John, Objections to the Doc- 
trine of Election 190 




Wesley's Last Circuit 334 

Wesley's Last Conference. 33S 

Wesley's Last Visit to Ireland 332 

Wesley's Letter to Friends in America. . 438 

Wesley's Letter to Lord Xor^i 298 

Wesley's Method iu Tlieolopry 360 

Wesley's Money Mntters 243 

Wesley's Notion of the American In- 
dians 106 

Wesley's Opinion of the Irish 235 

Wesley's Ride through the Sea over the 

Cornwall Sands 336 

Wesley's Scholarship Ill 

Wesley's Scholastic Honors 83 

Wesley's Tree 335 

Wesley's Will 346 

Western Book Concern 722 

Weslley, John 61 

Whatcoat and Vasey 480 

Wheatley, James, the first Methodist 
Offender on whom Judicial Sentence 

was Passed 283 

Whedon, Rev. D.D 734 

Whedon, Dr., Quofcitions from 487 

Wheeler, lie v. Alfred 738 

Whitefiell :ii Oxford 94 


Whitefield enters the Calvinislic Arena. 187 

Whitefield, Mr., and the Dissenters 129 

Whitefield Ordained, and the Wesleys 

Converted 1 2.3 

Whitefield Sails f.)r Georgia 13a 

Whitefield's Account of his First Sermon. 124 

Wliitefield's Ivxperience of Conversion.. 96 

Whitefield's Letter on Slavery 431 

Whiiefield's Loiter to John Wesley .... 188 

Whitefield's Return from America 152 

Whitefield's Slaves 429 

Whitefield's Theoloiry 126 

Wilbur Fisk, D.D 555 

Wilbur, Rev. James H.—'- Father AVil- 

bur" 674 

William Nasi 659 

William Walters 43& 

William Wilberforce 330 

Withrow, Rev. W. R 775 

Woman's Foreign Missioaar\- Society. . . 734 

Wood, Rev. Kuoch .' 773 

Young, Benjamin 585 

•' Young Pretender " 70 

Ziou's Herald 560 

XJi.-Eulger Sc.Cin 

6 Xongituae "West * from Greenwich 







^ ■< ^ 


^ 5 

=3 s 




THE history of Methodism opens in the latter part of the year 1Y29, 
at the University of Oxford, England, where four young men — 
John "Wesley, Charles Wesley, Robert Kirldiam, and Wilham Morgan 
— had banded themselves together for mutual assistance both in schol- 
arship and piety. 

There was need enough of such mutual help, for at that day 
scholarship and piety were the two most unusual attainments among 
university men. To improve their minds these persons agreed to 
spend three or four evenings in the week together in reading the 
Greek Testament, the Greek and Latin classics, and on Sunday even- 
ings, divinity; to improve their souls, they adopted a set of rules 
for holy living, including the exact observance of all the duties set 
forth in the Prayer Book of the English Church, besides such others 
AS they were able to invent for themselves, all of which they kept as 
strictly and religiously as if they had found them laid down in the 
book of Exodus or Deuteronomy. Their exceptional diligence in 
study, and their still more remarkable sanctity of manners, soon 

44 Illustrated History of Methodisji. 

brouglit down upon them a storm of ridicule and abuse, and the 
name "Methodist" was flung at them in derision on account of the 
clock-work regularity of their lives — a name destined to become a title 
of honor, and to stand for the largest spiritual communion of Chris- 
tians in the world. 

£iig'land Under George II. — This was in the third year of 
the second of the Georges, a prince alike deficient in mental capacity 
and moral worth. In those days it was not the fashion for kings to 
practice the Christian virtues : indeed, the almost universal profligacy 
of royal courts would indicate that it was regarded as the high pre- 
rogative of kings and princes to break all the ten commandments, and 
the more frequently they did so the more did they display their dig- 
nity and power ; since nothing could be a greater proof of royalty 
than a fearless disobedience of the law of God. English historians 
agree in condemning the manners and morals of the reigns of the 
four Georges ; yet it is but just to set over against the repulsive pict- 
ures which they draw the still more infamous scenes which were 
constantly witnessed in the Roman Catholic countries of Europe. 
Bearing in mind then the fact that, with all its public and private 
abominations, Protestant England in the eighteenth century was a 
vast improvement on the England of any previous age, except during 
the Protectorate of Cromwell, the actual state of the kingdom, its 
rulers, its people, its schools, and its Church as compared with the 
Christian England of to-day may be studied with interest and profit ; 
as showing how great a need still existed in this foremost country of 
Europe in religion, intelligence, and morals, of such a spiritual refor- 
mation in its religion as that with which Great Britain was blessed 
under the leadership of that chief of all the great reformers, John 

This was the money era. There was nothing which could not be 
bought or sold. From the reeldng royal court down through all the 
upper orders of society there was one long carnival of luxury, licen- 
tiousness, and display. Gold lace, velvets, brocades, and jewels were 
the current substitutes for virtue among women and honor among 
men ; and with such examples set them by lords and ladies the poorer 
classes — sometimes also called " the lower classes " — of society, made 
all haste to fill themselves with pleasure by defihng themselves with sin. 

England in the Eighteenth Century. 


In 1736 every sixth 
house in London was 
a gin-shop. The sign- 
boards of inns adver- 
tised to make a man 
drank for a penny, 
dead drunk for two 
pence, and promised 
straw to lie on while 
he was getting sober. 
From these dens of in- 
iquity bands of young 
men would sally forth 
by night for a drunken 
frolic, and commit ev- 
ery sort of depredation 
upon the persons and 
property of peaceable 
citizens, sometimes 
even torturing them 
with their swords, 
breaking heads, split- 
ting noses, and sub- 
mitting both men and 
women to the \alest 
possible indignities. 
The capital swarmed 
with desj)erate and 
shameless adventurers, 
plotting how to fasten 
themselves and their 
families upon the 
Church or the civil 
hst, or picking up a 
precarious living as 
professional wits ; tell- 
ing vile jokes or sing- 

Orange Court, Drury Lane, about 1740. 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

ing lewd sougs, not only iu ale-houses and bagnios, but also in the 
assemblies of polite society. 

The ignorance of the common people was another curse of the 
kingdom. In the year 1715 less than twenty-five thousand of the 
childi-en of the poor were sent to school ; being only about one fourth 
of the number of scholars now in the Wesleyan Methodist day schools 
of England, to say nothing of the schools connected with the other 

As for law, it was plenty enough, but justice was far more rare. 
^_ The prisons were full to burst- 

ing ; and there was a public hang- 
ing every week, by which large 
numbers of sinners, great and 
small, were assisted out of the 
world without perceptibly im- 
- proving it. Neither the Tyburn 
•;\\ gallows, nor the array of heads 
'»»}—: 1-^ t 8 newly cut off for treason — with 
lii^-' ' f ^"^ which it used to be the custom to 
?_^ ~'"" decorate Temple Bar and the 

gate-way of old London Bridge 
— availed to frighten the people 
into good behavior, since it was e\'ident that what was called Justice 
in Great Britain was chiefly a means of protecting the king against 
his subjects, and defending the rich against the poor. 

The Church in England, versus the Church of 
Engiand.— But where was the Church all this while ? 

On the throne, in the person of the king ; in the court, foremost 
in intrigue; in the House of Lords, where bishops hob-nobbed with 
peei-s of the realm ; in grand cathedrals splendidly endowed ; in fat 
livings all over the kingdom ; in all the resorts of pleasure and fashion ; 
but not among the surging throngs of common sinners, who were so 
sunk in ignorance and atheism that they hardly knew, or boldly denied, 
that they had any souls to be saved. The Church of England, like that 
of Laodicea, though proud of its traditions, its wealth, and its power, 
was " wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Its 
wealth and offices were constantly prostituted to personal and political 


.England in the Eighteenth Century. 47 

ends. For rojal favorites and zealous partisans it had titles, benefices, 
and prefermonts ; for the masses of the people it had httle else to give, 
in return for the conformity and the tithes it exacted, except the forms 
of the holy sacraments, and a hturgy which might almost as well have 
been in papal Latin for any good the unschooled nistics could find in 
it as it was drawled or rattled out by some haK-starved curate, while 
his rector was giving himseK up to a life of rural pleasure or courtly 

It is true, the Lord had a few faithful servants both among the 
clergy of the Establishment and the ministry of the Non-conformists 
Churches, but for the most part both priests and people were not only 
destitute of the power of godhness, but also of the form thereof. 

In studying the history of the great Methodist revival, and its re- 
lation to the communion within which it commenced, it should not be 
forgotten that Christ has a Church in England, which is not of En- 
gland ; a Church older than Henry YIII. ; older than Augustine, the 
first Archbishop of Canterbury ; older than the paganism of the Saxon 
conquest ; older than the Romanism of the papacy. There were Chris- 
tian Churches, and Christian martyrs too, in Britain long before that 
very prudent prince, the Emperor Constantino, could make up his 
mind to break with the Roman idolaters and allow himself to be bap- 
tized. There were British Christians, scattered by persecution among 
the Scottish highlands and the mountains of Wales, hunted by pagan 
Britons, and afterward by pagan Saxons ; persecuted, now by Roman- 
ists in the name of the Pope, and now by Anghcans in the name of the 
King — these are the people from whom has descended the true Angh- 
can Church. The Church in England is spiritual, the Church of 
England is political ; the one is from heaven, the other is of men ; 
their historic lines sometimes cross each other, but they seldom 
coincide for any great length of distance or time. 

Outline of English 8tate-Cliiirchisni. — A brief sketch 
of the career of the Church of England, as distinguished from the 
Church ill England, though not essential to this history, wiU greatly 
assist in understanding many of the events which have a vital connec- 
tion with the "Wesleyan revival. 

In the 3^ear 596 England was Romanized by Augustine ; not the 
Saint of that name, but a Roman monk who was sent by Pope Gregory 

48 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

the Great to take advantage of the marriage of the heathen King of 
Kent with a Christian princess. This marriage was tlie beginning of 
pohtical rehgion in England. 

" Strangers from Rome " was the title by which Augustine and his 
forty monks introduced themselves to King Ethelbert — Romans first, 
and Christians afterward — and when they had made a Roman and a 
Christian of the King, his subjects dutifully followed him, and as many 
as ten thousand of them are said to have been baptized in a single day. 
Here beginneth the royal headship of the Church of England. 

The monks now turned their attention to converting the pagans in 
other parte of the British islands ; using mild measures at first, such as 
sprinkling the temples with holy water, taking down the idols Thor, 
Woden, and other ISTorse divinities, and setting up images of Roman 
saints ; all this with a view to convert these British temples into 
Romish churches, and to displace the pagan by the Christian form with 
the least possible shock to the pagan mind. It was this pohtic Roman 
monk, Augustine, who, in the French city of Aries, in the year 597, 
was consecrated by Pope Gregory as the first Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, and Metropolitan of England ; and chiefly along his hue of policy 
and prelacy, with varying fortunes, but with always the same flavor of 
statecraft about it, the Church of England has ascended to our day. 

From the beginning of the eighth to the middle of the sixteenth 
century the power of Rome over the English nation had increased, 
until the papal sanction was necessary to the settlement of all polit- 
ical, as well as spiritual, questions. The high oflBces in the English 
( hurch "were at the disposal of the Pope ; spiritual courts were estab- 
lished for the trial of " spiritual persons," whereby all crimes, murder 
not excepted, became frequent among ecclesiastics, for whom, so far as 
Jiuman law was concerned, any iniquity was safe; and so greedy were 
they of filthy lucre, and so successful in accumulating it, that at one 
time nearly half the wealth of England was under their control. 

The Reformation under Luther, which promised so much for 
Europe, produced only a temporary impression upon the Church of 
England. Protestantism did, indeed, set up a new system of doctrine 
and discipHne, which was a vast improvement on the ever-multiplying 
heresies of Rome ; but the Reformation soon lost its power as a rehg- 
ion by aspiring after, or rather groveling after, political supremacy. 

England in the Eighteenth Century. 


Meanwhile, Henry VIII. of England projected a Reformation of 
Ills own. He had special use for a Church as well as for an army and 
navy, and in his hands the one was as much a political instrument as 
the other. In 1531 this infamous prince was proclaimed by his obe- 
dient convocation of English bishops as " The only and supreme lord, 
-and, as far as the law of Christ permits, even the supreme head of the 
Church of England ;" and in 1539 his Parliament passed an " Act for 
Abolishing Diversity of Opinions," by which those who ventured to 


"hold different notions of faith and practice from those set forth in his 
royal manifesto were condemned " to suffer the pains of death as fel- 
ons," or to be " imprisoned during the king's pleasure." 

In the new liturgy which Henry's obedient clergy composed for 
his Church in 1548, occurs this prayer :— 

" From the tyranny of the Bishop of Eome and all his detesta]-»le 
enormities, good Lord, deliver us ! " Yet, after centuries of intrigue, 


Illustrated History of IMethodism. 

martyrdom, aud murder, England Lad simply freed herself from the 
great Komau pontiff and set up a little j)ope of her own. 

But Henry's Church was born to trouble. England was too rich a 
prize to be easily wrenched from the grasp of Rome, and hence it was 
that the kingdom s^^img back and forth from AngHcanism to Roman- 
ism and from Romanism to Anglicanism again ; making, on one of 
these journeys, a detour off into Presbyterianism ; but, having had too 
much of Cromwell and his roundheads, who must needs erect their re- 
ligious opinions into a State Church like all the rest, the nation, after 
various rehgious contortions, laj)sed into a condition of disgust at all 
religion ; at least, all political religion ; and there was mournfully httle 
religion in England at that day of any other sort. 

The path of the Church of England is plentifully stained with 
martyrs' blood as well as with that of a meaner sort ; yet even this is 
void of power or praise to the political Church of the kingdom, since 
the fagot and the ax have served at different times in the name 
of the official religion, now to punish one form of faith and now 
another. The people of England have been marched to prison in 
like coffles of slaves to the auction block, and some of 

her priests and bishoj)* 
have been beheaded or 
burned ''for their rehg- 
ion ; " but with every 
martyr's memorial which 
one may meet, set up in 
honor of those who have 
sealed their faith with 
their blood, it is needful 
to inquire on account of 
what particular form of 
faith this particular mar- 
tyr died — for so many different reasons, in its crooked course down the 
centuries, has the estabhshed Church of England murdered men and 
•women. Under the Romish system the State was held to be the crea- 
ture and servant of the Church ; in Protestant England, since the day& 
of Henry and Elizabeth, the Church, /. <?., the Establishment, had for 
the most part l>een the servant of the State. The old kings were treated 



England in the Eighteenth Centuky. 51 

like little deities, whose food and wine must be offered on bended knee ; 
now they were prelates, whose oj^inions in religion, inspired by schem- 
ing ecclesiastics, constituted the orthodoxy of the Church, and whose 
will was, presumably, the will of God. 

The apostasies and martyrdoms under the varying forms of Church 
law, which followed the accession of Papist or Protestant kings and 
queens, served still further to corrupt the morals of the kingdom. 
There was, indeed, an " Act of Toleration," which permitted Non- 
conformists to maintain their own forms of worship on condition that 
they should also support, financially, the established religion of the 
State ; but in their eyes its worship was no worship, its ministry was 
no ministry, its sacraments no sacraments, while, on the other hand, 
they were denounced by the Church party as rebels, blasphemers, 
reprobates, in a state of sin and misery, and in danger of eternal 

One deep and lasting impression, however, was made upon the peo- 
j)le of England by these politico-religious oscillations, namely : hatred 
of the Pope. The reign of " bloody Mary,'' from 1553 to 1558, when 
Papacy was the State religion, aroused the wrath of the English people 
to such a degree that on her death and the accession of Elizabeth in the 
last-named year, the triumph of Protestantism was substantially com- 
plete, and to this day the party cry of " No Popery ! " will rouse the 
blood of English artisans and peasants, and call forth ringing cheers 
from almost any great assembly of free-born Britons. But the value 
of hatred as a saving grace, even though it be the hatred of the Pope 
himself, cannot be very considerable : Protestantism, pure and simple, 
is simply no religion at all : nevertheless, protesting and hating is s,o 
much easier than praying and loving that, in the eighteenth century, 
anti-popery had come to be considered a form of religious faith, an! 
Protestantism was made to cover a multitude of sins. 

The spiritual value of this last reformation, or revolution of the 
State religion, may be estimated in the light of the fact that when the 
transition took place from the extreme Popery of the reign of Mary to 
the extreme Protestantism of Elizabeth, nearly all the clergy of the 
State Church succeeded in overleaping the gulf without the loss of 
their places. Out of the nine thousand four hundred beneficed clergy 
of the Church of England, only one hundred and seventy-two quitted 


Illustrated History of ^Iethodism. 

their offices or '' livings " rather than change their rehgion.* No won- 
der tliat such a convenient " rehgion " rapidly sunk into contempt 
among a people whose love of what is genuine, as opposed to all preten- 
sion, is a well-known national characteristic. The "Anglican Church," 
says one of its most eminent bisho]3s, " was an ecclesiastical system 
under which the people of England had lapsed into heathenism. 

:ixi.i^x'Vi:s MK^loiilAi 

or a state hardly to be distinguished from it." But what else was to 
be expected from a Church whose constitution was a political contriv- 
ance invented to meet the exigencies of the State, whose offices were 
often given as bribes and presents from kings and nobles in recogni- 
tion of partisan zeal or family claims, and whose sacraments even were 
regarded by the clergy as exclusive official prerogatives more than as 

* Smith's " History of "Wcsle.van Methodism," vol. i, p. •".. 

. England in the Eighteenth Century. 53 

ordinances of the Lord ! To seek for any substantial Christianity as 
the product of such a Church is only an attempt to gather grapes of 
thorns or figs of thistles. 

Throughout this wretched era the Lord had here and there some 
faithful servants to declare his pleasure and defend his word. These 
God-fearing men, although in a hopeless minority, lifted up their 
voices against the iniquities of the time, and from the outpourings of 
their shame and sorrow the most vivid pictures of the irrehgion of the 
age may be drawn. It was an age that builded the tombs of the mar- 
tyrs, but which avoided the remotest approach to their heroic hfe and 

The Bishoj) of Lichfield says : — 

" The Lord's day is now^ the devil's market day : more lewdness, 
more drunkenness, more murders, more sin is contrived and committed 
on this day than on all the other days of the week together. . . . Sin, 
in general, has grown so hardened and rampant as that immoralities 
are defended ; yea, justified on principle. Every kind of sin has found 
a writer to vindicate and teach it, and a bookseller and hawker to di- 
vulge and spread it." 

Bishop Burnet, in 1Y13, speaking of the candidates for ordination 
in the State Church, says : " The much greater part of those who come 
to be ordained are ignorant to a degree not to be apprehended by those 
who are not obliged to know it. The easiest part of knowledge is that 
to which they are the greatest strangers : I mean the plainest parts of 
the Scriptures." 

Bishop Butler, in the preface to his "Analogy," which is itseK 
a piece of devout rationalism, declares that " it has come to be taken 
for granted that Christianity is not so much a subject of inquiry, but 
that it is now at length discovered to be fictitious." 

Sir John Barnard, once Lord Mayor of London, and for forty years 
its representative in Parliament, complains that " it really seems to be 
the fashion for a man to declare himself of no religion ; " and Mon- 
tesquieu, in his " ISTotes on England," says, that " not more than four 
or five members of the House of Commons were regular attendants at 

Lecky, in his work entitled " England in the Eighteenth Century," 
describes the theology preached in the churches of the Establishment 


Illistuated History of Methodism. 

as little more than another form of rationalism. " It was," says he, 
" the leading object of the skei^tics of the time to a-sert the sufficiency 
of natural relioion. It v/as tlie leading object of a large proportion of 


the divines to pi'ove tliat Christianity was little more than natural re- 
ligion accredited by historic proofs and enforced by tlie indisputable 
sanctions of rewards and punishments. Beyond a belief in the doc- 
ti'ine of tlie Trinity and a general acknowledgment of the veracity of 


the gospel narratives, tliej taught httle that might not have been 
taught by the disciples of Socrates and Confucius." 

The Rev. Augustus M. Toplady, himself a minister of the Estab- 
hshed Church, who died in 1778, said, in a sermon preached not 
long before his death : " I beh6vfe'no denomination of jDrofessiug Chris- 
tians, the Church of Rome excepted, was so generally void of the hght 
and life of godhness, so generally destitute of the doctrine and of the 
grace of the Gospel, as was the Church of England, considered as a 
body, about fifty years ago. At that period a converted minister in 
the Establishment was as great a wonder as a comet." 

Such was the Established Church, the poHtical as distinguished 
from the spiritual Church, under whose aus]3ice5 in the eighteenth 
century the Idngdom of Great Britain almost went back to barbarism. 
" If I had not been Prime Minister," said Premier Walpole, " I would 
have been Archbishop of Canterbury," and though he neither feared 
God nor regarded man, this place in the Church of England would, 
no doubt, have been within his reach if his personal ambition had 
taken that pai-ticular turn. 

Irreli§"IOMS Iieariiiii§". — The universities, too, with all their 
splendor of architecture and all their wealth of endowment, had fallen 
into a state of intellectual and moral stagnation. 

In 1729 the heads of Oxford issued a notice complaining of the 
spread of open deism among the students, and urging that they be 
more carefully instructed in theology. But how was this to be done ? 
The writings of the Christian Fathers were too full of superstition for 
the classical taste of the times ; they were, therefore, displaced by the 
literature of ancient Greece and Rome ; and as for the Bible in Greek 
and Hebrew, few university men thought the book worthy their atten- 
tion in any tongue whatever. 

The Bishop of Chichester, in a letter to a young clergyman, says : — 

" IS'ame me any one of the men famed for learning in this or the 
last aee who have seriously turned themselves to the study of the 
Scriptures. ... A haj^py emendation on a passage in a pagan writer, 
that a modest man would blush at, will do you more credit and be of 
more service to you than the most useful employment of your time 
upon the Scriptures, unless you resolve to conceal your sentiment and 
speak always with the vulgar." 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

The popular literature of the day, as to its morality, was quite doAvn 
to the classical standard. Iniquities of speech, hidden from the un- 
learned, were dragged forth and exhibited in broad English ; books- 

and pictures held place on drawing-room tables which would now con- 
sign their publishers to prison ; and even the mysteries of religion 

England in the Eighteenth Century. 


were turned into ribald jests. One of the most popular clergymen of 
the State Church so far prostituted his literary genius as to write a 
poetic burlesque on the last judgment, and none of the Church digni- 
taries called the clerical clown to account for his impiety, because the 
fashionable world was laughing at his wit. 

The Dissenters — that is to say, the Presbyterians, Independ- 
ents, and Baptists — though less conformed to this world, and holding 
less of it in their hands, were constrained to mourn over the wastes of 
Zion. Many of their ministers were immoral and negligent of their 
duty, spending their time and strength in sports and revels, or in 
scrambhng for the best paying pastorates in their respective churches, 
with much of the same spirit as that which they so bitterly denounced 
in the clergy of the Established Church. 

Surely such an England as this needed a revival of religion ; not a 
"reformation," which would merely replace one State Church by 
another, but a coming to the front of the divine elements which priest 
craft and politics had so long thrust out of sight. 

State of Iftelt^-ioii in Scotland. — A glance at Scotland,. 

where the Reformation, 
under the lead of grand 
old John Knox had 
done so great a work, 
shows that portion of 
the kingdom to have 
been burdened with 
ver-much theology. 
Lecky gives this char- 
acteristic picture of a 
Scotch congregation 
which was quite driven 
out of the meeting- 
house by a sermon 
preached by the son of 
their old minister, who 
JOHN Kxox. had just come home with 

certain latitudinarian notions in his head, whereof one of the good 
elders complained to the father thus : — 

58 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

" That silly lad has fashed a' the congregation wi' liis idle cackle ; 
he's been babbling the oor aboot ' the gude and benevolent God ; ' and 
the soids o' the heathen themsel' will gang to heaven if they follow the 
licht o' their ain consciences ; but not ane word does the daft young 
lad ken nor speer nor say aboot the gude, comfortable doctrines of 
election, reprobation, original sin, and faith. Hoot, mon ; awa wi' sic 
a fellow ! " 

If this be a fair showing of Scotch taste in religion, it would 
appear that the spiritual condition of Scotland at this time was such as 
to indicate the need of another Reformation. 

Ireland, where, a few years later, Methodism won some of its 
brightest triumphs, was, in the first half of the eighteenth century, 
thought to be hardly worth the notice of polite and respectable En- 
ghshmen. Among her people there were, indeed, many superior 
minds, but for the most part ignorance and superstition reigned 

]?Iethodi§iu a Benediction. — The Methodist revival, which 
must have been a gift from God out of heaven since there was noth- 
ing in the condition of this world out of which to produce it, was like 
a fresh breeze from the north on a sultrv summer's dav. Reeking: 
odors from all manner of social and spiritual decay filled the air, and 
the few godly men in England were panting for a pure breath from 
the upper heavens. At length it came, sweeping along like the winds 
which God lets loose from his fists, swaying devout souls, breaking 
down stubborn sinners, spreading confusion where vice and wealth had 
wrought together to build themselves a tower or temple, overturning 
hopes built on false foundations, but quenching not the smoking flax 
nor breaking the bruised reed. It was Heaven's bountiful answer to 
the silent prayer of the world's great sorrow by reason of its great sin. 
In the midst of this spiritual darkness God raised up a bishop, a 
preacher, and a poet ; three men the equals of whom liave, probably, 
never been" seen in the world at once since the apostolic days : the 
bishop was John "Wesley, the preacher was George AVhitefield, the 
poet was Charles "Wesley. To these three men, and those whom they 
gathered to their standard, did the Lord commit the precious work of 
awakening the British kingdom to a sense of God and duty, and by 
them ho wrought a reformation which stands alone in British history 

Eis^GLAis^D iiN" THE Eigiitee:s^th Centuey. 


as a spiritual revival of religion without admixture of State-craft or 
the patronage of Parliament or King. 

It has been lately claimed by one high in the Enghsh Churcli that 
these men were the jDroduct of England's ecclesiastical system, and that, 
therefore, the common judgment of history against the State Church 
of their day has been unjust." As well might it be said that the car- 
cass of Samson's dead lion j)roduced the honey he afterward found in 
it. If ay, rather let it be said that God in his mercy set himself to save 
the Enghsh Church from its death and corruption ; and that the Wes- 
leys and Whitefield were the proj)hets whom he sent to prophesy to 
the bones of that valley, and to raise up from among the dead an ex- 
ceeding great army to the j^raise of his infinite grace. 

*Dean Stanley, at his Methodist Reception in St. Paul's M. E. Church, New York, 1879. 

JOHX Kxox s cuuiicn l^ edixbukgii. 



Susanna Wesley. Mother of John Wesley. 



A CAREFUL student of human nature lias said, " When God sets 
out to make a great man he first makes a great woman ; " a state- 
ment emmently true in tlie case of Jolm Wesley ; but only one side of 
the tmth, for on his father's, as well as on his mother's side, he inherited 
great talents and high moral endowments. 

The Wesley, or Westley, family was one of high respectability in the 

The Wesley Family. 61 

south of England. Its annals can be traced as far back as the four- 
teenth century, and it is interesting to find in almost every generation 
an eminent clergyman and scholar. Thus in 1403 George Westley was 
prebendary of Bedminster and Eadeclyye ; in 1481 John "Westley, 
*' bachelor in degrees," was rector of Langton Matravers ; in 1497 
John Wannesleigh was rector of Bettiscomb ; in 1508 John "Wennesley 
was chaplain of Pillesdon, all of which parishes were in the county of 
Dorsetshire, in which, after the lapse of one hundred and thirty yeais, 
the name of the family, which had undergone such changes in orthog- 
raphy, again appears, beginning with Bartholomew AVesley, the great 
grandfather of John and Charles AVesley, rector of Charrmouth and 
Catherston, who gained the title of "the fanatical parson" on account 
of his ojDposition to State Church pretensions and his sacrifices for the 
sake of his opinions. On the accession of Charles II. to the English 
throne, Bartholomew Wesley, as well as hundreds of other clergymen, 
was ejected from his " livings," and forbidden, by the " Five Mile 
Act," to approach within that distance of his former parishes. 

Jolin \^^e§t3ey, his son, was educated for the priesthood at the 
University of Oxford. During the civil war the splendid halls and 
chapels on which Cardinal Wolsey had lavished untold wealth were 
turned into store-houses, magazines and barracks ; but when Crom- 
well became master of England under the title of " Lord Protector," 
the Oxford Colleges were repaired, the schools re-opened, and this 
John "Westley, grandfather of John and Charles Wesley, was one of 
the first as well as one of the foremost scholars admitted thereto. 
In 1658, the year of Cromwell's death, he became the minister at 
Whitchurch, a small market town in Shropshire ; but with the disap- 
pearance of the Commonwealth, and the re-estabhshment of the 
throne and the episcopal form of Church Government, he was 
denounced as one of Cromwell's Puritans, seized by the State 
Church ofiicers, and carried to prison at Blandford ; but so admirable 
was his conduct at the examination that he was allowed to return to 
his parish, his gentleness and piety having quite disarmed his envious 
and spiteful accusers. 

The 24th of August, 1662, was the day appointed for carrying into 
effect the " Act of Uniformity," by which the episcopal form of gov- 
ernment was to be fully restored in the dmrch, and by which all its 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

ministers were required, not only to use the Book of Common Prayer, 
but also to avow their " unfeigned assent and consent to all and every 
thing contained therein." 

Mr. Westley, who would not compromise his conscience for the 
sake of his " living," preached his farewell sermon on the preceding 
Sunday, August 17th, and thenceforth became an outcast and a wander- 
er, hunted from to^vn to town, repeatedly thrust into prison, but ever 
maintaining his faith and his patience, unmoved alike by threats or 
promises, preaching the Gospel as he could find opportunity, and fur- 


nishing an admirable illustration of that tenet of his faith entitled " the 
perseverance of the saints," until his sufferings broke his heart and 
wore out his life, and he sunk into a premature grave about 1670. 

Such was the grandfather and namesake of John AVesley, the Meth- 
dist : gentle, incorruptible, devout, with a conscience quick as the 
apple of an eye, and with a most unconcjuerablc will. lie could not 
be permitted to hold his place in the Church of England — but that he 
was a tnie and faithful member of the Clmrcli In England there is 
no occasion to deny. 

The Wesley Family. 63 

Samuel Westley, in the next generation, was also a clergyman. 
He was left an orphan in his infancy, which fact may account for 
the slight impression made upon him by the heroic sacrifices and 
sufferings endured by his father and grandfather in defense of the 
rights of conscience. 

In the academy at Newington Green, a private school of the Dis- 
senters, in which he was placed to be trained for a ISTon-conformist 
minister, he had for his school-fellows the famous Daniel De Foe, 
and a lad named Crusoe, after whom the immortal hero of the lonely 
island was named. Here young "Westley soon distinguished himself 
as a writer, and when only seventeen years of age he was selected to 
reply to certain severe articles which had been published against the 
Dissenters ; but the course of reading by which he sought to prepare 
himself for his task had the opposite effect upon his mind from what 
he had intended, for it led him to espouse the cause of the Establish- 
ment, and he became thenceforth a sturdy defender of the State 
Church, and an ardent Tory in politics, which sentiments in after 
years cost him no little trouble. Knowing the opposition he was sure 
to encounter from his mother, as well as from an old aunt, who ap- 
pears to have offered an asylum to the widow and her family, and to 
have been his patron at school, young Westley left her house one 
morning very early, with only the sum of two pounds and sixteen 
shillings in his pocket, and started for Oxford, where he entered him- 
self at Exeter College, where in due time he took his bachelor s degree. 

In 1690 he was ordained as deacon in the Established Church, and 
presented to the small " living " of Soutli Ormsby by the Marquis of 
Normanby. This nobleman, who owned the parish, thought to own its 
minister also, but the Reverend Samuel was not the man to be kept in 
subjection, and, having turned the marquis' mistress out of doors, who 
had insisted on being a visitor at the rectory, he himself was thrust out 
of his " living," but soon afterward obtained the rectorship of the parish 
of Epwoi-th, in Lincolnshire, a position in the gift of the Crown, 
where he passed the remainder of his life, and where his two famous 
eons, John and Charles, were born ; the former on the 17th of June, 
1703, and the latter on the ISth of December, 170S.* 

* Rev. Samuel Wesley left the " t " out of the family name about the time of his removal 
to Epworth. 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

It would seem that the Ruler of events was planning these two men 
several generations beforehand, and was carefully developing just 
those elements of mind and body which were to be required in the 
great mission on which he had determined to send them. In the 
grandfather of the Methodist AYeslevs he seems to have arrived at the 
proper pattern for the great leader, John Wesley, and in their father, 
[he ideal for the poet of this great revival, Charles Wesley ; for John 
is almost John Westley over again, while Charles is the fac simile of 
his father Samuel, though in both cases there is a very considerable 
ascent as well as descent. 


The ]?lollier ol' the "IVesleys. — All writers of Methodist 
history dwell with rapture on the talents and virtues of that admirable 
English matron, Mrs. Susanna Wesley ; while to the devout student 
thereof the gracious purpose of God is manifest in preparing and unit- 

The Wesley Family. 65 

ing two such noble lines of power and genius as those which were 
joined in the persons of Samuel Westley and Susanna Annesley. 

This lady was the youngest daughter of Eev. Samuel Annesley, 
LL.D., a nephew of the Earl Anglesea and a graduate of Oxford, where 
his studiousness and his piety were as admirable as they were rare. 
He was afterward settled in the parish of St. James, in London, and 
was also appointed lecturer at St. Paul's ; but, being a Kon-conformist, 
as those ministers of the Establishment were called who refused to 
submit to the " Act of Uniformity," he was ejected from his prefer- 
ments, and, being a gentleman of fortune, he became a leader and ben- 
efactor among his JSTon-conformist brethren, wdio, like him, had been 
driven from their parishes, but wlio, unlike him, were poor. 

Singularly enough, his daughter, while scarcely more than a child, 
passed through the same change of sentiment as that already men- 
tioned in the case of her future husband. She, too, had studied the 
controversy between the Established Church and the Dissenters, and 
had thereby become an ardent friend of the Establishment. Thus it 
would appear to have been a part of the divine purpose that the great 
religious leader, John Wesley, should not only inherit tliat vigor of 
personal opinion which was the outcome of English Nonconformity, 
but that he should be born and reared within the bosom of the Estab- 
lished Church : a fact not to be forgotten in tracing his career as a 
Methodist and a Churchman. 

In the year 1689 the Eev. Samuel Wesley and Susanna Annes- 
ley were married, the age of the bride being about twenty, and that of 
the bridegroom about twenty-seven. For about forty years this his- 
toric household dwelt in the parish of Epworth, the father dividing 
his time between the care of his parish and voluminous literary labors, 
chiefly in the form of poetry ; while the mother kept at home, guided 
the house, bore children — eighteen or nineteen of them in all, though 
only ten survived their infancy — trained them in a school of her own, 
and also attended to such parish duties as the frequent absence of her 
husband left upon her hands. Of this great family three sons and 
seven daughters grew up to maturity. They all possessed unusual tal- 
ents, and all three of the sons became ministers of the EstabHshed 

It seems almost incredible that the wife of a parish clergyman, 


upon a salary which was too small even to allow his family proper food 
and clothing, a lady of delicate health and of refined tastes, which were 
continuallY shocked by the rnde people among whom she liyed, shonld 
haye been able to endure such toils and privations without losing 
either her spirit or her life ; but in spite of all these depressing cir- 
cumstances and surroundings she actually kept herself so far in ad- 
vance of her college-bred sons, especially in things pertaining to the 
word and kingdom of God, that for years she was their acknowledged 
spiritual counselor and guide. Among other helpful things she wrote 
for them some most admirable expositions of Scripture, and of por- 
tions of the Book of Common Prayer. She grounded her children 
in the nidiments of learning ; trained tliem up to be ladies and gentle- 
men, and, in spite of the continual misfortune which came upon the 
family because her husband was more of a poet and a politician than 
was good for him, she ever remained the same courteous, seK-poised, 
far-seeing, courageous Christian woman. 

Mrs. l\^esley's Home School. — The family of the rector 
was the only one in the parish that could boast of any learning ; there- 
fore if the children were not to grow up barbarians they must, of ne- 
cessity, for a long time be schooled at home. This great task fell 
ahnost wholly to the mother, and her success therein adds no little em- 
phasis to the princijjles on which she conducted it. Her theory was 
that even in babyhood the child sliould be taught that one lesson which 
it was capable of learning, namely, submission ; the next lesson was 
obedience, that is to say, intelligent submission to parental authority ; 
the next lesson was piety, that is, intelligent and loving submission to 
God. ^Vt five years old it was her rule to begin their secular educa- 
tion, and from this time they studied regularly in the family school, of 
wliich Mrs. AVesley was both the teacher and mother. 

Dr. Adam Clarke, whose Irish gallantry no doubt gave its height- 
ened color to the boundless admiration in which ho held the mother of 
the Wesleys, tells us that this great family of little children were M'on- 
derfully gentle and polite, not only to their parents and visitors, but to 
each other and to the servants as well ; and that " they had the common 
fame of being the most loving family in the county of Lincolnshire." 

Jirn, 'Wesley's "Conventicle." — A glimpse of the illiterate 
and ungovernable rustics among whom they Hved and labored is given 

The Wesley Family. 67 

ill two of Mrs. Wesley's letters to her husband, while he was absent 
for some months in attendance npon the meeting of Convocation at 
London ; bnt, what is of more importance, they contain an acconnt of 
that notable effort on the part of Mrs. Wesley to promote tnie religion 
in her OAvn family and among her neighbors by an irregular but won- 
derfully efficient means of grace, to wit, a private meeting at the 
rectory on Sunday evenings, conducted by Mrs. Wesley herself. 

The curate who assisted the rector with the duties of his two small 
parishes, Epworth and Wroote, was, in the judgment of Mrs. Wesley, 
unable to edify her husband's people, and, seeing the attendance at 
church fall off, she commenced to hold private meetings for her own 
family, and such others as chose to attend. These little services were 
similar to those conducted at the parish church, consisting of portions 
of the service from the Prayer Book, and a sermon read by Mrs. 

Xot wishing to trespass npon her husband's rights by holding relig- 
ious service in his parish without his consent, she wrote to him de- 
scribing their little meetings, and mentioned that they were evidently 
doing the people much good. 

Mr. "Wesley objected to this singular proceeding, and suggested 
that, to avoid the scandal of having a sermon read in public by a 
woman, she should find some man to read it. 

Mrs. Wesley replied : " As for your j^rojDosal of letting some other 
person read. Alas ! you do not consider what a people these are. I 
do not think one man among them could read a sermon without spell- 
ing a good part of it out. And how would that edify the rest ? " 

In relation to her liusband's objection on the ground of her sex, 
she replies : " As I am a woman, so I am also mistress of a large 
family. And though the superior charge of the souls contained in it 
lies upon you, as head of the family and as their minister, yet in your 
absence I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my care as 
a talent committed to me under trust by the great Lord of all the 
families of heaven and earth." 

AVhen the attendance at the little meetings at the parsonage had 
increased to between two and three hundred, the stupid curate, jealous 
of the woman for having a larger congregation in her house than he 
could draw at the parish church, wrote ta his rector, complaining of 

6S Illustrated History of Metiiodis^i. 

this disorderly assembly — this conventicle,* as irregular religious serv- 
ices were spitefully called — and Mr. Wesley, whose High-church notions 
always lay near the surface, at once Avrote to his wife desiring her to 
suspend her meetings. 

In reply Mrs. AYesley gives the following account of how she came 
to hold the meetings : — 

'' Soon after you went to London, Emily [one of her daughters] 
found in your study an account of the Danish missionaries, which, 
having never seen, I ordered her to read to me. I was never, I think, 
more afJected with any thing than with the relation of their travels, 
and was exceedingly pleased with the noble design they were engaged 
in. Their labors refreshed my soul beyond measure, and I could not 
forbear spending good part of that evening in praising and adoring 
the divine goodness for inspiring those men with such ardent zeal for 
His glory, that they were willing to hazard their lives and all that is 
esteemed dear to men in this world to advance the honor of their 
Master, Jesus. 

" For several days I could think or sjjeak of little else. At last it 
came into my mind : Though I am not a 07ia7i nor a minister of the 
GosjDel, and so cannot be employed in such a worthy employment as 
they were, yet if my heart were sincerely devoted to God, and if I 
were inspired with a true zeal for his glory and did really desire the 
salvation of souls, I might do somewhat more than I do. I thought I 
might live in a more exemplary manner in some things. I might pray 
more for the people and speak with more warmth to those with whom 
I have an opportunity of conversing. 

" However, I resolved to begin with my own children ; and accord- 
ingly I proposed and observed the following method : I take such a 
proportion of time as I can best spare every night to discourse with 
each child, by itself, on something that relates to its principal concerns. 
On Monday I talk with Molly ; on Tuesday with Hetty ; Wednesday 
with Nancy ; Thursday with ' Jackey ; ' [" Jackey " Wesley ! who, 
since that day, ever conceived of John Wesley as a boy?] Friday 

*The famous "Conventicle Act" was passed by the British Parliament in 1C64. It for- 
bade the assembly of more than five persons besides the resident members of a family for 
any religious purpose not according to the Book of Common Prayer. Mrs. Wesley's conven- 
ticle was, however, strictly according to that book, for she used no other service than that 
laid down in it. 

The Wesley Family. 69 

with Patty ; Saturday with Charles ; and with Emily and Sukey 
together on Sunday. 

" With those few neighl^ors who then came to me I then discoursed 
more fully and affectionately than before. I chose the best and most 
awakening sermons we had, and I spent time with them in such exer- 
cises. Since this our company has increased every night ; for I dare 
deny none that asks admittance. Last Sunday I believe we had above 
two hundred, and yet many went away for want of room. 

" But I never durst positively presume to hope that God would 
make use of me as an instrument in doing good ; the furthest I durst 
go was — It may be : who can tell ? " 

After mentioning tlie good which had been done — among other 
things, that the meeting had wonderfully conciliated the minds of the 
people toward their pastor and his family, so that they could now 
live in peace among tliem — Mrs. Wesley closes with these wifely and 
Christian sentences : — 

" If you do, after all, think fit to dissolve this assembly, do not tell 
me that you desire me to do it, for that will not satisfy my conscience. 
But send me -^(mx ])Ositive command in snch full and express terms as 
may absolve me from all guilt and punishment for neglecting this 
opportunity of doing good, when you and I shall appear before tlie 
great and awful tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Such dutiful words from his wife and parishioner, which at the 
same time brought the rector face to face with God, and challenged 
him to exercise his right and power with the same obedient heart 
toward his superior as that she held toward hers, seems to have given 
a new turn to the argument, and to have left the victory with the 
woman; for we hear nothing more of the rector's objections, and 
''The Society," as Mrs. Wesley named her assembly, continued its 
meetings until the rector's return. 

Epworth Politics. — The sharpness and power of this lady's 
mind is suggested by her reference to the fact that her " conventicles " 
had been the means of establishing peaceful relations between the 
family of the rector and the people of the parish. This was touchino- 
her husband in a vital spot ; for his political partisanship had kept the 
parish in a ferment of sullen ugliness which sometimes broke out into 
open violence against the rector and his family. 


Illusteated Histoey of Methodism. 

The bitterness of the quarrels between the two factions into which 
the parish and the kingdom were divided can hardly be appreciated 
at the present day. The reigning King was William III., Prince of 
Orange, who, with his wife, Mary, the eldest daughter of King 
James IL, had come over from the Dutch Netherlands at the invita- 
tion of the leaders of the Protestant party in England, and possessed 
himself of the throne which James, on account of his tyranny in the 
interests of the Papists, had been compelled to abdicate. 


James II. was now dead, and the Papist party in England, called 
Jacobites, claimed to bold allegiance to his son, known in history as 
the " Young Pretender,"' in whose interest the Jacobites were contin- 
ually plotting and planning for another revolution, with a view to 
set up the Pomish Church again as the Church of England. The 
Epworth rector was a firm supporter of William and Mary, but his 
wife, although as good a Protestant as himself, did not believe in the 

The Wesley Family. 71 

legitimacy of their title, though she prudently kept her oj)inion to 

One day at family worship the rector noticed that his wife did not 
say "Amen" in the proper place after the form of prayer for the 
king and royal family, and when the service was over he straightway 
inquired the reason. 

" I do not believe in the title of the Prince of Orange," said Mrs. 
"Wesley. This raised the j)atriotic wrath of her husband, who instantly 
replied : — 

" If we have two kings we must have two beds." And he actually 
lefi his family and his parish and remained away from them for more 
than half a year, till Queen Anne, another daughter of the exiled 
James II., came to the throne, in whose title both the husband and the 
wife believed ; whereupon the family was once more united. 

If the learned and pious rector of the parish could make such an 
exhibition of bad temper over a difference of political opinion in his 
own household, what might not be expected of the rabble in the wild 
€xcitements of festivals and elections ? 

A Brsind Plwckecl from tlie Burning. — The parish of 
Epworth was divided against itself, and so wild was the zeal of the 
Jacobites on the one hand and the Orangemen on the other that it 
often broke out into deeds of violence. 

The election for the county of Lincoln in May, IYO.5, was very 
bitter and exciting. Mr. Samuel Wesley, with more valor than discre- 
tion, entered warmly into the contest in support of the candidate of 
the Orangemen, who was, nevertheless, defeated ; and, on his return 
from the polling-place at the county-seat, the Epworth Jacobites cele- 
brated their victory by raising a mob, which surrounded the rectory 
and kept up a din of drums, shouts, noise of lire-arms, and such like, 
till after midnight. 

The next evening one of the mob, passing the yard where the 
rector's children were playing, cried out, " O ye devils ! we will come 
and turn ye all out of doors a-begging, shortly ;" a threat which must 
have had a strange significance to the Wesleys, whose fathers had 
suffered that identical outrage at the hands of the Church to which 
the rector was now devoting his tongue and his pen. It would have 
been " an eye for an eye " if the Jacobites had been able to execute 


Illustkated History of Methodism. 

their threat by means of another revolution ; but as they were not they 
kept up an infamous style of persecution, stabbing the rector's cows, 
cutting off a leg of his dog, withholding his tithes, arresting and 
thrusting him into jail for small debts, and finally, after one or two 
unsuccessful attempts, burning the rectory to the ground, and fulfill- 
ing their threat of turning him and his family out of doors. 



This last event occurred when his son John was about six years 
old. In the dead of a winter's night the father was awakened by the 
fire comiri^ into his chamber through the thatched roof, and, hastily 
arousing his family, they fled down stairs, and with great difficulty 
escaped with their Hves. By some mischance little John was left 
behind, fast asleep ; but being awakened, he sprang to the window and 

The Wesley Family. 73 

began to cry for help. It was too late ; the house was filled with 
smoke and flame ; there was not time to fetch a ladder, and the frantic 
father tried in vain to ascend the stairs, but they were already too far 
gone to support his weight ; and, half dead with suffocation and frantic 
with distress, he fell on his knees and commended his poor lost boy to 
God. But meanwhile a stout man had placed himself against the wall 
of the house, and another had climbed upon his shoulders, and httle 
Jack, leaping into his arms, was rescued out of the very jaws of the 
flame. The next instant the whole blazing mass of the roof fell in. 

This fire occurred in the year 1709. The letters of Mrs. Wesley 
to her husband, above quoted, bear the dates of February 6th and 
12th, 1Y12, whereby it would appear that the wrath of their enemies 
had followed them year after year until, in the absence of the rector, 
his wife, under the blessing of God, so established her influence with 
the people as to bring them in crowds to the rectory for prayer and 
instruction, thus becoming the real preacher of the Gospel of peace ; 
after which time there is no further record of ill-will on the part of 
the Epworth people toward their pastor or his family. 

John Wesley, in after years, was always deeply affected by this 
narrow escaj^e from so terrible a death, and on the margin of a picture 
which was painted to commemorate the event he wrote the significant 
words : — 

" Is not this a 'brand jplucked fronx the hurning ? " 

The notable success of Mrs. Wesley's " Society," as appears from 
her letter to her husband, above quoted, in harmonizing her hus- 
band's parish, after years of such confusion and violence, was an argu- 
ment in favor of her course which could not be overthrown. It was 
evident that the Head of the Church was her patron and defender ; 
and, what is especially noticable, she understood how to use the fact of 
her wonderful success without descending to spiteful personalities in 
her discussions with her husband, or even abating one jot of the wifely 
duty and respect which she owed to him. John Wesley was afterward 
distinguished for his almost inimitable skill as a logician, who could 
win a victory in a debate with fewer words and in better temper than 
any other man of his time. Is it not plain that this amiable sharpness 
and this logical power were among his birth inheritances from his 
admirable mother ? 


Illusteated Histokt of Methodism. 

Samuel "Wesley as aii Author. — The fatlier of the Les- 
leys was a poet, and, according to his theory, poetry and poverty natu- 
rally went hand in hand. His first cnracy in London yielded him only 
thirty pounds a year, about one hundi-ed and fifty dollars ; but to this 
he added thirty pounds more by his Kterary work, and on this slender 
inconie he married Susanna Annesley — one of the most sensible things 
recorded of him — and liyed in lodgings until he received the "living'' 
of South Ormsby, worth about fifty pounds a year. 

In 1693 he published the first of his large poetic works, entitled, 
'•' The Life of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ; A Heroic 


Poem in Ten Books: Dedicated to Her Most Sacred Majesty [Queen 
Mary] ; Attempted by Samuel Wesley, Eector of South Ormsby, in 
the County of Lincoln." This poem, however valueless in itself, 
earned for him the favor of his queen, who the next year returned his 
compliment by conferring on him the "living" of Epworth, and 
afterwards that of AVroote, a poor little village a few miles distant, both 
together wortli about two Innidred and fifty pounds a year. These 
livings he held till his death ; which event occurred on the 25th of 
April, 1735, in the seventy-second year of his age and in the thirty- 
ninth year of his service as rector of the parish of Epworth. 

The Wesley Fa^hly. 75' 

His other works are more remarkable for length than depth, and 
of the vast mass of rhyming rubbish which he threw oif only a few 
stanzas have found place even in the Hvmn books published by his 
own sons. 

He possessed to a notable degree the power of persistent mental 
application, and what may be called the mechanical skill of versifi- 
cation, but without that divine enlightenment and that creative j)ower 
in which consists the measureless difference between a sacred poet and 
a beater of rhymes. 

The Rev. Samuel Wesley is entitled to no small honor for being 
one of the first men in England to perceive the opportunity and duty 
of carrying the Gospel into foreign parts. He even wrote out a plan 
for a great system of British missionary colonies or settlements in 
India, China, Abyssinia, and in the islands of St. Helena, St. Thomas, 
etc., which plan was approved by the Bishop of York ; but for want of 
missionary spirit among the Enghsh clergy this scheme, which Adam 
Clarke declares was such as might easily have been carried into execu- 
tion, was suffered to fall to the ground — but not to jDcrish, for his sons, 
John and Charles, inherited his missionary zeal, and their labors, with 
God's blessing, have resulted in a scheme of evangelization which has 
belted the earth with !Methodist circuits and stations, and which ^vill 
never be suspended till all the ends of the earth have seen the 
salvation of our God. 

"With the other members of the Wesley family this volume has 
httle concern. Samuel, the eldest son, became a learned and respect- 
able minister in the Established Church, in which capacity he thought 
himself called upon to protest against the extravagancies of his 
younger brothers ; of the daughters, the most of whom grew up to be 
brilHant and talented women, those who care to know more can find 
what little there is on record in Dr. Adam Clarke's " Wesley Family." 

The Charter House School. — At the age of eleven 
" Jackey " Wesley, after five years' tuition in the home school taught 
by his mother, which was by far the best institution of learning he 
ever attended, was placed at the Charter House School in London.* 

* The name of this school is derived as follows : la the days when the monasteries 
of England were numerous, rich, and powerful, the order of Carthusian monks estab- 
lished a monastery on this site which they called a Chartreuse, the name given to their 
religious houses in the various parts of Europe ; but in the time of Henry VIII. this monas- 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

In this school the law of the strongest prevailed. All sorts of petty 
tyrannies were practiced by tlie big boys upon the little ones, and 
" Jackey" Wesley was no exception to their rule. The regular rations 
issued to the boys included meat as well as bread, but the big boys, 
like so many big dogs, would pounce upon the little chaps as they 
came from the cook's house with their rations in their hands, and 
rob them of their meat, thus forcing them to become vegetarians 
in spite of themselves, until they became strong enough to fight 
for their meat, and later on for that of their juniors also. 


Such outrages have l)een defended on the ground tliat the hardship 
which this injustice inflicts is useful in teaching the small boy to be 
patient under difficulties, and to make the best of misfortunes ; but 
there is little said concerning the savagery which is produced among 
the larger ones by this abuse of those whom circumstances have placed 

tery shared the fate of many others, and the ruins of it were at length purchased by Thomas 
Sutton, who repaired the edifice and built a hospital, and established a school therein, on 
whose double foundation or endowment eighty pensioners of not less than fifty years of age, 
and foity-two boys as charity scholars, were to be maintained. The allowance from the 
endowment to each scholar was forty pounds a year, and it was no small \necc of good for- 
tune to the Epworth rector to secure one of these scholarships for his son John. 

The Wesley Family. 


in tlieir power. If the theory of these great schools were to train 
the youth of England to submit uncomplainingly to the impositions 
of unjust laws or the tyranny of usurped authority, nothing could 
be better adapted to that end than the system above mentioned, 
lint " Jackey " managed to thrive in spite of his tormentors: taking a 
run every morning three times around the ample play-grounds, accord- 
ing to his father's direction, and eating his ration of bread with a good 
appetite, sharpened by the sight of some tall young gentleman (?) de- 
vouring two cold cuts of boiled beef or roast mutton, the one being his 


I»y right, the other " by conquest " — a phrase which the British nation 
has done so much to translate from robbery into heroism. 

Two years later his younger brother, Charles, was sent to school at 
Westminster, where his brother Samuel w^as one of the ushers, as cer- 
tain of the younger assistant teachers were called, and who paid the 
cost of his younger brother's course of study. Little Charles was a 
spirited lad, well knit, active, and afraid of nothing, which qualities 
not only made him a favorite — for boys are always hero-worshipers — 
but irained liim the title of " captain of the school." His leadership, 

78 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

however, was of a different sort from that wliieh would have led him 
to rob his inferiors, cringe to his superiors, and tight his equals ; he 
had a heroic spirit, and was as generous as he was brave. 

Dr. Smith, in his admirable " History of TTesleyan Methodism," 
mentions a case in point : — " There was a Scotch laddie at school, 
whose ancestors had taken sides with the Pretender, as the papist 
claimant to the throne was called, and who, in consequence, was greatly 
persecuted by the other boys ; but the "• captain " took him under his 
own special charge ; defended him, fought for him, and saved him 
from what would otherwise have been a life of intolerable misery. 
This lad was James Murray, afterward the great Baron Mansfield, 
Lord Chief Justice of England.'" 

While Charles AVesley was a pupil at AYestminster a wealthy Irish 
gentleman, Garret Wesley, Esq., wrote to the Rev. Samuel Wesley in- 
quiring if he had a son named Charles ; giving out that he wished to 
adopt a boy of that name. The result was that for some years the 
school bills of the lad were paid on the stranger's account by his sup- 
posed agent at London ; but when the question M'as submitted to the 
young man himself whether to go to Ireland, as the adopted son of 
Garret Wesley, or stay in England and take his chances as the son of a 
poor clergyman, he made choice of the latter, a decision which his 
brother John called a " fair escape ; " and another boy became the heir 
of the Irish Wesley's name and fortune. This was Richard Colley 
Wesley, afterward Lord Mornington, and grandfather of the Duke of 
Wellington, whose name stands in the army list of 1800 as " The Hon. 
Arthur Wesley, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Thirty-third Regiment;" 
more commonly written " Wellesley," which is only a modern corrup- 
tion of the name, perhaps for the purpose of escaping the suspicion of 
relationship between the Irish duke and the Methodist reformers. 




JN the year 1720 John Wesley, then a youth of seventeen, was ad- 
mitted to Christ Church College, Oxford, to which college his 
brother Charles followed him six years after. 

The excellent use he had made of his time at the Charter House 
gained for him a high position as a student at Oxford, and he soon be- 
came quite famous for his learning in the classics, and especially for 
his skill in logic. But Christ Church was, and still is, the most aristo- 
cratic, fashionable, and luxurious of all the Oxford colleges, whose ordi- 

80 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

nary function is to give a mild scholastic flavor to the manners of the 
prospective noblemen of the realm, and was, therefore, ill adapted to 
train a religious leader for his work. 

On his arrival he was surprised at the extent to which all manner 
of dissipations, among which drinking and gambling were only the 
least disgraceful, prevailed at this central seat of British learning. 
For a time yoimg Wesley was carried by the current out of his 
moral latitude ; but not for long. Ever since his rescue from the 
flames his mother had felt impressed to devote herself with special 
care to the training of this son, toward whom there is in the family 
records a slight tinge of favoritism, and the suggestion of a presenti- 
ment in the mind of that good woman of certain great tilings which 
lay before him. In her private journal these words occur with refer- 
ence to him, written not very long after the fire at the rectory : — "And 
I do intend to be more particularly careful of the soul of this child 
that Thou hast so mercifully pro\'ided for, than ever I have been ; 
that I may do my endeavor to instill into his mind the principles of 
thy true religion and virtue. Lord, give me grace to do it sincerely 
and prudently, and bless my attempts with good success." 

Although John was saved through his mother's teachings and in 
answer to her prayers from falling into outward sins, the religious 
nature which he possessed did not very strongly manifest itself until 
sometime in his twenty-second year. Six years at the Charter House, 
with its classics and its ruffianism, and five years at Christ Church 
College, with its aristocratic iniquity, were not calculated to keep ahve 
the memory of the godly training which he received at home. He 
confesses himself to have lost his childish religion and to have become 
" a sinner," but not to any desperate degree ; for the heavy sinning at 
Oxford implied heavy expense, and young Wesley was a poor man's 
son, who could not afford to be fashionably wicked, even if he bad 
possessed that desire. We hear now and then of his debts, a frequent 
topic in the correspondence of the Wesley family ; but, on the whole, 
his poverty proved his protection, and helped to develop the grace of 
frugality for which he afterward became conspicuous. 

Wesley Ordained. — In January, 1725, being then twenty- 
two years of age, he writes to his father for advice as to whether he 
should apply for ordination in the Established Church ; he, like all the 

The Holy Club. 81 

rest of the male "Wesleys, taking to the priesthood with a hereditary 
instinct ; and in the correspondence there is a hint that he had been 
the subject of some spiritual awakening, and was looking toward a 
clerical life not only as a means of hving, but as a safeguard against 
habits of sin in which he was fearful of becoming confirmed. 

His father replies that there is no harm in trying to obtain holy 
orders with a view to a respectable livelihood, " but that the principal 
spring and motive must certainly be the glory of God and the service 
of the Church in the edification of our neighbor. And woe to him 
who, with any meaner leading view, attempts so sacred a work." 

His mother writes him as follows : — 

Epworth, Fehruarij 23, 1725. 

Dear Jacket: — The alttn'ation in your temper has occasioned me much 
■speculation. I, who am apt to be sanguine, hope it may proceed from tlie 
operation of God's Holy Sinrit; that by taking away your relish of sensual 
•enjoyments he may prepare and dispose your mind for a more serious and close 
application to things of a more sublime and spiritual nature. ... I heartily 
wish you would now enter upon a serious examination of yourself, that you may 
tnow whether you have a reasonable hope of salvation. If you have, the 
satisfaction of knowing it would abundantly reward your pains ; if not, you will 
find a more reasonable occasion for tears than can be met with in a tragedy. 

Now I mention this, it calls to mind your letter to your father about taking 
orders. I was much pleased with it, and liked the proposal well, but it is an 
unhappiness almost peculiar to our family that your father and I seldom think 
alike. I approve the disposition of your mind, and think the sooner you are a 
deacon the better, because it may be an inducement to greater application in the 
study of practical divinitj^ which, I humbly conceive, is the best study for 
•candidates for orders. Mr. Wesley differs from me, and would engage you, I 
believe, in critical learning, wliicli, tliough incidentally of use, is in no wise 
preferable to the other. I earnestly pray God to avert that great evil from you 
of engaging in trifling studies to the neglect of such as are absolutely necessary. 
I dare advise nothing. God Almighty direct and bless you. I wish all to be 
well. Adieu, Susanna Wesley. 

One of the most successful educators in America has said that 
^' one great want of our times is a society for the suppression of useless 
knowledge." Mrs. Wesley in her day was evidently of the same opin- 
ion. With the constant example before her of a man of learning and 
genius wasting his lifetime in " beating rhymes," delving in Oriental 


Illustrated Histoiiy of Methodism. 

literature to the neglect of the souls in his parish, turning the Gospel 
into a "heroic poem," and grinding out pious or classic platitudes 
in verse on every sort of occasion, appears to have been a powerful 
motive with her in her efforts to prevent her sons from " engaging in 
trifling studies." Fortunately for John, he eschewed the counsel of 
his father and followed the advice of his mother, plunging into the 
study of " practical divinity," including such books as Thomas a Kem- 
pis on " The Imitation of Christ," Taylor's " Holy Living and Dying," 
etc. ; and in the following September he was ordained a deacon in the 
Estabhshed Church. 

John IfVesIey; " Soinetiiiie Fellow of* liincolii Col- 

le§-e." — In 172G he succeeded in 
obtaining one of the twelve Fel- 
lowships of Lincoln College, one 
of the smallest, poorest, and most 
scholarly of the nineteen colleges 
wliich are comprised in the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, and thither he 
at once removed, glad to escape 
from his surroundings at Christ 
Church, and happy now in hav- 
ing a permanent means of sup- 
port which would permit him to 
devote his life to the duties of a 
Christian minister and scholar. 

Some of the Fellowships in the 
rich colleges at Oxford yielded 


an annual income oi six or seven 
lumdred pounds; those at Lincoln College, however, were far less 
valuable, but ample for the supply of his wants. 

The position of Fellow was both honorable and easy. Its duties 
consisted in residing \n the college, taking such part as might be 
agreeable in the general management of its affairs, and helping to 
maintain the college dignity by a life of learned leisure ; it was, in a 
word, a scholastic sinecure, requiring some distinguished merit to 
obtain it, continuing until death, marriage, or the presentation of some 
fat " living," requiring little other college labor, except drawing the 

The Holy Club. 


endowment money from the college bursar, and spending it in a 
manner becoming a gentleman. For a man of Wesley's turn of mind 
this was, indeed, a paradise, x^o more debts to baunt him ; no more 
burdens to lay upon bis poor fatber; an assured position among 
Engbsb scholars, and a comfortable home for life in the midst of 
tbe best helps to learning then to be found in the world. His ordi- 
nation gave him additional respectability and influence ; it would, 
also, secure for him a chance of succeeding to some of the small 
" livings " in the gift of the college, provided he wished to remain a 
''•' Fellow," or perhaps open up his way to an ample benefice in case 
he wished to become rector of a parish and make a start in the race for 
episcopal honors. 

There was great rejoicing at the Epworth rectory over the news 
that " Jackey " had gained a Fellowship at Oxford. The event served to 
perpetuate the clerical and scholarly honors of the family, and would 
add to their income, if 
in no other way, by re- 
lieving them of the sup 
port of this member of 
the family. ISTow per- 
haps mother and daugh- 
ter might clothe them 
selves decently as bt 
came their station, 
which they hithei to 
had been preventt d 
from doing, not so 
much by the smallness 
of their income as by 
its unfortunate manage- 
ment in the hands of the poet parson ; and the father might now occa- 
sionally call on his clerical son to assist him in the duties of his parish, 
which, by reason of his literary schemes, had sometimes been sadly 
neglected . 

Wesley's Scholastic Honors. — In 1727 the Rev. John 
Wesley took his degree of Master of Arts, having already been honored 
by an election to the office of " Lecturer in Greek," and " Moderator 



Illusteated Histoey of MeTH0DIS3I. 

of the Classes." In 1T2S he was ordained priest or presbyter by Dr. 
Potter, the Bishop of Oxford, though there is no evidence of his inten- 
tion to devote himself to the pastorate. 

His position as Greek lecturer attracted to him certain persons, 
who, like himself, read the Greek Testament for devotion ; as well 
as a number of private pupils who sought his assistance in that depart- 
ment of learning. In Hebrew, too, Wesley was one of the best scholars 
of his time, he having commenced the study of it when little more 
than a child. Concerning his office of " Moderator of the Classes," he 
says : " For several years I was moderator in the disputations which 
were held six times a week at Lincoln College in Oxford. I could 

not avoid acquiring 
hereby some degree 
of expertness in ar- 
guing, and especially 
in pointing out well- 
covered and plausi- 
ble fallacies. I have 
since found abun- 
dant reason to praise 
God for giving me 
this honest art. By 
this, when men have 
hedged me in by 
what they called 
demonstrations, I have been many times able to dash them in pieces ; 
in spite of all its covers, to touch the very point where the fallacy lay, 
and it flew open in a moment." It is evident that Wesley was a 
distinguished scholar at Oxford, and even that he had achieved all 
these scholastic honors before he was twenty-five years of age. 

In the next two years, 1727-29, John Wesley divided his time be- 
tween Oxford and Epworth, at which latter place he served as curate 
to his father, and pursued his studies in " practical divinity " with his 
mother. There were, indeed, magnificent and famous halls of the- 
ology at the University, but Wesley seems to have been of the opinion 
that in none of them was there a doctor or professor who was equal 
to his mother. But at length the college authorities desired liis return 


The Holy Club. 


to Oxford for permanent residence on account of his duties as Moder- 
ator of the Classes, and he bade his old home farewell. 

Charles Wesley the first "Methodist." — His brother 
Charles had now been a student at Christ Church for more than two 
years, the first of which he spent in any thing else except study. When 
reproved by his elder brother for his folly he would reply : — 

" What ! would you have me to be a saint all at once ? " But soon 


after John had gone down to Epworth to assist his father Charles be- 
came deeply serious. In a letter to his brother asking such advice as 
he had so lately scouted, he says : — 

" It is owing in a great measure to somebody's prayers (my moth- 
er's, most likely) that I am come to think as I do, for I cannot tell how 
or where I awoke out of my lethargy, only it was not long after you 
went away." 

Charles' piety first showed itself in honest, hard work with his 

S6 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

books, then in attendance upon the sacrament of the Lord's Supper 
every week ; and, being now desirous of doing something more by way 
of working out his salvation, he persuaded two or three of his young 
friends to join him in a systematic efEoii; to attain a state of absohite 
hohness. They adopted a system of rules for holy living, apportioned 
their time exactly among their various scholarly and religious duties, 
allowing as little as possible for sleeping and eating, and as much as 
possible for devotion. It was this regularity of life that earned them 
the name of "Methodists," a term derived from the Greek word 
uedodiKog, which signifies " One who follows an exact method ; " but 
John Wesley subsequently turned the tables upon his adversaries 
in a dictionary which he published for the " People called Methodists," 
in which he defined the word " Methodist " as " One who hves accord- 
ing to the method laid down in the holy Scriptures." 

It thus appears that the Holy Club was organized by Charles Wes- 
ley while his elder brother was absent at E23worth ; but when John 
returned to Oxford, Charles and his two friends, Kirkham and Morgan, 
received him with great dehght, and, by reason of his superior age and 
acquirements, he at once became the head of their little fraternity. 

His reputation as a scholar brought him certain young gentlemen 
who desired his personal instruction, and thus he became a private tutor 
as well as a college lecturer. Some of these pupils became interested 
in the plan of holy living which the members of the Club were so en- 
thusiastically pursuing, and were permitted to attend the meeting of 
the Club as visitors, in the hope that they would at length become 

John Wesley's views of his duty to his pupils appear in one of his 
addresses to the tutors of the University, who were, no doubt, amazed 
and ofEended that this mere boy in years, and especially in appearance, 
should venture to offer advice concerning a work upon which he had 
so recently entered and to wliieh they had devoted their lives : — 

"Ye venerable men," he exclaims, "who are more especially 
called to form the tender minds of youth, to dispel thence the shades 
of ignorance and error and train them u]) to be wise unto salvation : 
Are you fiUed with the Holy Ghost? Do you continually remind 
those under your care that the one rational end of all our studies is to 
know, love, and serve the only trae God and Jesus Christ whom he 

The Holy Club. 


lias sent ? Do you inculcate upon them, day by day, that love that 
alone never faileth, (whereas whether there be tongues, they shall fail, 
or philosophical knowledge, it shall vanish away,) and that without 
love all learning is but sj)lendid ignorance, pompous folly, and vexation 
of spirit ? . . . Let it not be said that I speak here as if all under 
your care were intended to be clergymen. Not so : I only speak as if 
they were all intended to become Christians." * 


Pious liabors of the Holy Club. — Besides their frequent 
meetings for the study of the Greek Testament and devotional exer- 
cises, the Wesleys and their two friends began a systematic visitation 
of the poor and the sick, and presently extended their charity to the 
poor debtors in Bocardo. This " Bocardo " was a room over the north 
gate of the ancient city wall, and at that time in use as the debtors' 
* " Wesley's Works," vol. i, page 86. 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

prison at Orford. [It was from this place that Archbishop Cranmer 
was led forth to martyrdom, after ha\^ng been led up to the top of the 
tower of St. Michael's Church adjoining the prison, to witness the burn- 
ing of Ridley and Latimer, in order that the sight of their sufferings 
might move him to recant. This tower is seen in the center of the cut.], 
To this work they devoted two or three hours every week ; though 
before entering upon such a novel enterprise they thought it best to- 
consult Mr. Samuel Wesley about it, who gave his approbation, pro- 
vided the jailer was satisfied with it, and the bishop of the diocese had 
no objections. 

It was, doubtless, a 
new experience for the 
Bishop of Oxford to have 
a Fellow of Lincoln Col- 
lege and two or three 
students of Christ's 
Church asking his per- 
mission to do any such 
undignified thing as to 
visit the poor, and preach 
the Gospel to the miser- 
able wretches in the debt- 
ors' prison ; but, finding they Avere really intent upon this holy work, 
he graciously gave his consent, and thus the Holy Club entered upon 
its first apostolic ministry. 

Like the man in the Gospel who was so well satisfied with himself, 
the members of the Holy Clab fasted twice in the week ; they denied 
themselves all luxuries and many comforts that they might have more 
money to give to the poor ; they kept the forty days of Lent so 
strictly as to be half -starved when the great annual fast was over ; 
they practiced all the rules for the attainment of holiness that they 
could find in the Book of Common Prayer, " De Imitationes Christi,^^ 
Law's " Sermons," Taylor's " Holy Living and Dying," " The Whole 
Duty of Man," etc., they sought for separation from the world, and 
managed to live, in the midst of the teeming folly and dissipation of 
Oxford, a life of almost monastic severity. 

There is always something attractive in the life of a devotee, not 


The Holy Club. 


always in spite of, but sometimes because of, the privations and suffer- 
ings which he endures. Oxford laughed at the members of the Holy 
Club ; but among the young men, and young women, also, who lived 
in the town and observed the sanctity of the lives of these four men, 
there were those who were attracted rather than repelled. In 1732 
the membership of the Club was strength- 
ened by the addition of Messrs. Ingham, 
Broughton, Clayton, Gambold, and Hervey : 
the last name being familiar as that of the 
author of the well-known "Meditations." 
At one time the list of membership in- 
creased to twenty-seven, most of whom 
were members of the different colleges, or 
private pupils of John AVesley ; and Mr. 
Clayton, in a letter to 
Wesley, gives us a 
glimpse of one of the 
lady members, whom 
he mentions as " poor 
Miss Potter "—Could 
it have been the 
daughter of the bish- 
op ? — and of whom 
he says : " I wonder 
not that she has fall- 
en;" that is, fallen 
from the high ritual- 
istic practices and 
painful devotions of 
the Holy Club. 

And no wonder 
that some of the 
members should backslide when the self-mortifications enjoined by 
their rules were such as to earn the censure of good men as well as 
the ridicule of bad men ; when the newspapers joined in the popular 
cry against them ; when a mob would collect at the door of St. Mary's 
Church, where the Methodists were in the habit of receiving the 


90 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

Lord's Supper every week, and shamefully entreat them as they 
passed in ; Avhen certain Church authorities ridiculed and denounced 
them as " enthusiasts," " fanatics," " papists," " supererogation men," 
etc., the latter name being flung at them because they insisted on 
keeping all the fasts prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer, 
sometimes with such vigor as to leave them scarce strength enough 
to walk. 

As the spiritual head of the Club, the youthful Rev. John "Wes- 
ley published a book of prayers of his own composition for their 
private use ; and that he held to auricular confession is proved by the 
following quotation from a sharp letter written him by his sister 
Emily, in reply to one of his own : — 

" To lay open the state of my soul to you or any of our clergy is 
what I have no inclination to at present, and I beheve I never shall. 
I shall not put my conscience under the direction of mortal man frail 
as myself. To my own Master I stand or fall, l^ay, I scruple not to 
say that all such desire in you or any other ecclesiastic seems to me 
like Church tyranny and assuming to yourselves a dominion over your 
fellow-creatures which God never designed you to hold." 

He also proposed the formation of a fraternity, a kind of monkish 
order, to which their habits were directly tending ; but Clayton, 
who was at that time serving a parish in Manchester, and there- 
fore caught an occasional glimpse of the great world which these 
Oxford devotees temporarily shut out from their reckoning, opposed 
the idea as a possible " snare for the consciences of weak brethren ; " 
and thus England was spared the infliction of a Protestant Loyola in 
the person of Wesley, who, if he had been allowed to carry out his 
designs, was brave enough, learned enough, and heroic enough to have 
become the general of an order no whit less enterprising and ambitious 
than that of the Jesuits themselves. 

The extent to which the success of the Holy Club depended on 
the personal magnetism of John "Wesley is shown by the fact that 
while he was absent on a visit to his old home at EjDworth, sometime 
in the year 1733, its membership dwindled from twenty-seven to only 
Ave ; a reduction scarcely to be lamented, for a more perfect speci- 
men of Pharisaism the Cln-istian world has rarely seen ; and its own 
members in after years confessed it to have been a futile effort to save 

The Holy Club. 


themselves, instead of coming to the Saviour set forth in the Word 
of God. 

George Whitefield. — It was during the dechne and fall of 
the Holy Club that George Whitefield was added to its number; 
indeed, he appears to have been its last as well as its most notable 

This greatest preacher of modern times, if not of all times, bv 
whose marvelous eloquence and spiritual ]30wer the Methodist revival 


was at first chiefly promoted, and who afterward divided with Wesley 
for awhile the honors of Methodist leadership, was born in the city of 
Gloucester, England, December 16, 1711. His father and mother 
kept the Bell Inn, but his father died when he was only two years old, 
and his mother, having but a mean opinion of her business, carefully 
kept her son from all connection with it, until the failing fortunes of 
the family, caused by his mother's second and unhappy marriage, made 
it needful for him to leave his school and take the place of pot-boy of 
the Bell. This was in his fifteenth year. 

92 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

Ill a very frank account of himself, whicli Mr. Whitefield published 
when he was about twenty -six years old, he says : — 

" I can truly say I was froward from my mother's womb. How- 
ever the young man in the gospel might boast that he had kept all the 
commandments from his youth, with shame and confusion of face I 
confess that I have broken them all from my youth. Whatever fore- 
seen fitness for salvation others may talk of or glory in, I disclaim any 
such thing. If I trace myself from my cradle to my manhood, I can 
see nothing in me but a fitness to be damned." * Yet he says he had 
some early convictions of sin ; that he was fond of being a clergyman, 
and used frequently to " imitate ministers reading prayers ;" and that 
of the money wliich he used to steal from his mother for cakes and 
fruits and play-house tickets, he was accustomed to give a portion 
to the poor ! 

His talent for di-amatic performances was noticed by the master of 
the school, who composed some small plays for him to act, sometimes 
even in a female character and dressed accordingly, of wliich he de- 
clares himself to be particularly ashamed, and of which he sets down 
his opinion thus : — 

" And here I cannot observe with too much concern of mind how 
this way of training up youth has a natural tendency to debauch the 
mind, to raise ill passions, and to stuff the memory with things as con- 
trary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as light to darkness, as heaven to 

While he was serving as tapster at the Bell, he was still dreaming 
of tlie hfe of a parson, and even composed two or three sermons, 
though he had no one to preach them to ; and, indeed, he was far 
enough from being fit to preach in any other respect except in his tal- 
ent as a speaker. He was often anxious about his soul, and would sit 
up far into the night reading his Bible, thinking over his sins, and 
wishing he could go to Oxford and study for the holy ministry, a wish 
which, however wild it seemed at the time, was not long after grati- 
fied. Of this change from tapster to theologue he writes as follows : — 

" After I had continued about a year in this servile employment, 
my mother was obhged to leave the inn. My brother, who was 
brought up for the business, married, whereupon all was made over to 
• Ttterman's " Life of George Whitefield." 

The Holy Club. 93 

Mm, and I being accustomed to the house, it was agreed that I should 
remain as an assistant. But God's thoughts were not as our thoughts. 
It happened that my sister-in-law and I could by no means agree. I 
was much to blame, yet I used to retire and weep before the Lord, 
little thinking that God by this means was forcing me out from the 
public business, and calling me from drawing wine for drunkards to 
draw water out of the wells of salvation for the refreshment of his 
spiritual Israel." 

It appears that during a visit to his brother at Bristol he had been 
powerfully wrought upon by the Holy Spirit, of which experience he 
says : — 

" Here God was pleased to give me great foretastes of his love, and 
fill me with such unspeakable raptures, particularly once in St. John's 
Church, that I was carried ont beyond myself. I felt great hunger- 
ings and thirstings after the blessed sacrament, and wrote many letters 
to my mother, telHng her I would never go into the public employ- 
ment again ; " but from this state of grace he fell on returning to 
Gloucester, and being without employment, having forsworn the dram- 
selhng, he fell in with idle companions, by whom he was led into 
secret vice, and almost into open apostasy from God, though it was 
impossible for him to be an infidel, toward which abyss he was led by 
the ideas and influence of some of his Gloucester companions. 

One day an old school-fellow paid him a visit, and explained to 
him how it was possible for a poor lad to i^ay his way at college as a 
servitor, and George, who had been deeply impressed that God had 
some special work laid out for him, saw in this an ojien door through 
which, in sj)ite of his poverty, he might pass to learning and the 
pulpit. "With this view he at once resumed his studies at the Glou- 
cester Grammar School, took up his religious duties, and presently 
became quite a noted leader in religion among the boys of his school. 

" For a twelvemonth," he says, " I went on in a round of duties, 
receiving the sacrament monthly, fasting frequently, attending con- 
stantly on public worship, and praying often more than twice a day in 
private. One of my brothers used to tell me he feared this would not 
hold long, and that I should forget all when I came to Oxford. This 
caution did me much service, for it set me upon praying for perse- 
verance ; and, under God, the preparation I made in the country was 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

a preventative against the manifold temptations whicli beset me at my 
first comino- to tliat seat of learning." 

W^liitefielfl at Oxrord.— At eighteen years of age Whitefiekl 

was admitted to Pembroke College, 
Oxford, and, being a polite and ready 
servitor, which trade he had learned 
at the Bell Inn, he at once became a 
favorite with the gentlemen of his 
college, who gave him all the patron- 
age he conld attend to, and thus placed 
him in a position of comparative inde- 

As might be supposed, this young 
pietist suffered no little persecution 
for refusing to join in the " excess of 
riot " of some of his college acquaint- 
ances ; but nothing could shake him. 
He liad also heard of the Methodists 
and their Holy Club, and greatly de- 
sired to be among them, but his pov- 
erty, his modesty, and his youth, pre- 
vented him from presuming to seek acquaintance among persons so far 
above him. It happened, however, that he fell in with Mr. Charles 
Wesley, who was pleased with him, invited him to breakfast, intro- 
duced him to his brother John, who also took a kind interest in the 
lad, gave him private instructions in things of religion, and, greatly to 
his delight, introduced him to their little fraternity. 

He was a young man of pleasing appearance, courteous manners, 
heroic courage ; a soul capable of ecstasies, revelations, and all the 
heights and depths of religious emotions ; a natural orator, of such dra- 
matic power that in after years the prince of actors envied him ; and so 
wonderfully endowed with faith and fervor, and so completely in har- 
mony with the supernatural world, that he could make his vast audi- 
ences feel, if they did not see, the invisible and eternal realities of 
death and judgment, heaven and hell. 

If Whitefield was a devotee before he became a member of the 
Holy Club, he was afterward a very fanatic. He was so bent upon 

TEMBKOKi; ( oi.l.Ki;]; TOWER. 

The Holy Club. 


conquering the flesli and attaining to the high spirituality of which he 
read in his books of devotion, that he would lie for whole hours to- 
gether prostrate on the ground, or on the floor of his study, with his 
arms extended in the form of a cross, pouring out his soul in silent or 


vocal prayer, fighting desperate battles with the devil, whose presence 
he realized with the most vivid horror ; he would sometimes expose 
himself in the cold until his flesh became almost black ; he used the 

96 Illusteated History of Methodisji. 

worst food — coarse bread, and sage tea without sugar — though his place 
as servitor gave him a chance at the best, for the remainder of the ele- 
gant repasts which he served to his wealthy patrons were regarded as 
the servitor's perquisites ; he wore shabby clothes, put no powder on 
his hair, fasted till he was half starved, lived in alternate ecstasy and 
misery, attended the weekly communion at St. Mary's Church along 
with the other Methodists, visited the poor and the sick, and strove, 
through self -mortification, prayer, alms-giving, and frequent use of the 
sacraments, to become a saint of the holiest sort. 

^Vhitefield's Experience of* CouTcrsiou. — That work 
of the Holy Spirit upon the soul of the behever in Christ which is 
now so well understood among Methodists, was at this time almost 
unheard of, even in the orthodox communion of the English Church. 
To be converted signified, in the doctrinal teachings of English pul- 
pits, a gradual process by which, often through very slow degrees, a 
baptized member of the Church might, somehow or other, come into a 
salvable condition, at which, however, there was no expectation of his 
arriving until the hour and article of death. Even to this day a mi- 
nority only of the English clergy believe, experience and preach 
instantaneous conversion ; and during the progress of the recent 
revivals in that kingdom under the leadership of the American evan- 
gelists certain of the clergy made bitter attacks upon the movement, 
denouncing it, among other reasons, because it gave so much promi- 
nence to the idea of " instantaneous conversion." 

AVhitefield, the dreamer, the enthusiast, the would-be martyr, was 
the first member of the Holy Club to come into this divine experience 
of regeneration. No member of the Holy Club, not even John 
Wesley himseK, understood this heavenly mystery. Their ideas of 
hohness were of a condition of soul which could be worked up by 
prayers, fasts, alms, and sacraments. Of that state of grace which is 
wrought in the soul by the power of the Sj^irit of God through faith 
in the atonement of Jesus Cln-ist, they had no loiowledge, partly be- 
cause they had no one to point out the force of the Scriptures which 
treat upon this jxjint, and partly because they were so intent on mak- 
ing themselves holy that they overlooked the fact that salvation was 
by faith instead of by works. 

In the awful straggles of soul through which Whitefield passed, 

The Holy Club. 


his mind was so tormented that he could not perform his college 
duties, and for a time such was his behavior that he was actually 
believed to have become insane : — 

" Near live or six weeks,'- he writes, " I was fighting with my cor- 
ruptions, and did little else besides kneeling down by my bedside, feel- 
ing, as it were, a j)ressure upon my body as M'ell as an unspeakable 
oppression of mind, yet offering up my soul to God to do with me as 


it pleased him. It was now suggested to me that Jesus Christ was 
among the wild Ijeasts when he was tempted, and that I ought to fol- 
low his example ; and being willing, as I thought, to imitate Jesus 
Christ, after supper I went out into Christ Church Walk, near oui 
college, and continued in silent prayer under one of the trees for 
near two hours. The night being stormy, it gave me awful thoughts 
of the dav of judgment. The next night I repeated the same exer- 


Illustuated History of Methodism. 

cise at tlie same place. . . . Soon after tliis the lioly season of Lent 
came on, w^hicli our friends kept very strictly, eating no flesh during 
the six weeks except on Saturdays and Sundays. I abstained fre- 
quently on Saturdays also, and ate nothing on the other days, except 
Sundays, but sage tea without sugar and coarse bread. I constantly 
walked out in the cold mornings till part of one of my hands was 
quite black. This, with my continued abstinence and inward conflicts, 
at length so emaciated my body that at Passion-week, finding I could 
scarce creep up stairs, I was obhged to inform my -kind tutor of my 
situation, who immedi- 
ately sent a phj'sician 
to me. This caused no 
small triumph among 
the collegians, who be- 
gan to cry out, ' What 
is his fasting come to 
now ? ' 

" This fit of sickne.- ,■- 
continued upon me for 
seven weeks, and a glo 
rious visitation it was. 
The blessed Spirit was 
all this time purifying 
my soul. All my form- 
er gross and notorious, 
and even my heart sin.-;, 
also, were now set home 
upon me, of which I '^'"^^ ^^^^^ ^^'^^^^^' oxfokd. 

wrote down some remembrance immediately, and confessed them be- 
fore God morning and evening. . . . 

" About the end of the seven weeks, and after I had been groaning 
under an unspeakable ])ressure of body and mind for above a twelve- 
month, God was pleased to set me free. . . I found and felt in myself 
that I was delivered from the burden that liad so heavily oppressed me. 
The spirit of mourning was taken from me, and I knew wliat it was 
truly to rejoice in God my Sa\Tour, and for some time could not iivoid 
ringing psalms wherever I was ; but my joy gradually became more 

The Holy Club. 99 

settled, and, blessed be God ! has abode and increased in my soul, save 
a few casual intermissions, ever since, 'Now did tlie Spirit of God 
take possession of my soul, and, as I humbly hope, seal me unto the 
days of redemption." 

It was during this time that John Wesley had helped him out of 
his despondency and advised him to continue his performance of the 
external duties of religion. At a time when he was tempted to abandon 
them and give over the struggle in despair, Charles Wesley lent him a 
book to read, entitled, the " Life of God in the Soul of Man," from 
which he learned that " a man may go to church, say his prayers, re- 
ceive the sacrament, and yet not be a Christian ; " and this book, 
through the blessing of the divine Spirit, was the means of bringing 
him into the experience of saving grace. " Holding the book in my 
hand," he says, " I thus addressed the God of heaven and earth : — 

" ' Lord, if I am not a Christian, for Jesus Christ's sake show me 
what Christianity is, that I may not be damned at last.' I read a 
little further, and discovered that they who know any thing of religion 
know it is a vital union with the Son of God — Christ found in the 
heart. O, what a ray of divine light did then break in upon my soul ! 

" I knoAv the place : it may, perhaps, be superstitious, but whenever 
I go to Oxford I cannot help running to the spot where Jesus Christ 
first revealed himself to me, and gave me a new birth." This was in 
the year 1735, when Whiteiield was in his twenty-first year. 

Cool-headed, cool-hearted rationalists will certainly scoff at such ;; 
radical, terrible, glorious conversion as that of George Whitefield. 
Half-way-covenant believers, whose sluggish souls were never stirred 
to the depths, perhaps because their souls have no depths to be 
stirred, will say that this man was the victim of a pious delusion : 
materialists will call his supernatural experience a case of fanatical en- 
thusiasm ; but they who through faith have been made " partakers of 
the Divine nature " will understand the mystery and pray for the mul- 
tiplication of such experiences among l^oth ministry and j^eople. 

The decided character of Whitefield's testimony concerning his 
conversion is worthy of special attention, occurring, as it does, at a time 
when the doctrine of Assurance of Faith was very rarely heard. 
Whitefield was saved so gloriously that he had no difficulty in recog- 
nizing the fact. Is it true, then, that the reason why so many profess- 

100 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

ins: Christians are in (l(nil)t about their experience of saving grace is 
to be found in the fact that their experience of grace really amounts 
to so little t Yea or nay, this certainly is true, that all the great souls 
whom God has set to be leaders in his Church have passed through the 
same deep convictions, and fought the same desperate battles with the 
powers of darkness, as those recorded of this Apollos of the eighteenth 
century. They have not only been baptized with water, but also with 
the Holy Ghost and with fire. 

It was three years after this tliat the AVesleys came into tlie cxpei'i- 
ence of the new Ijirth. They approached it with sclnilarly research, 
AVhitefield with alisolute desperation ; they were gentlemen, he was 
only a poor, despised servitor who felt himself unworthy of their 
notice ; they were teachers and in holy orders, he was a poor, broken- 
hearted devotee, lust in the abyss of his own depravity, and only crying 
out for (rod: they were Pharisees, he was a publican — and of course 
he came into the kingdom long before them. 

The cloetriiie«* of the Holy Club wiv orthodox. They 
were the doctrines of the Book of Common Prayer, flavored witli 
mysticism and somewhat tainted M'ith popery. John "Wesley, as has 
been seen, was instructed by his mother in the theology of his dissent- 
ing grandfather Dr. xVnnesley, as well as in that of the Established 
Churcli, of which ]iis father was a clianipion. Besides these, Mrs. 
AVesley held certain views of her own ; as, for instance, she rejected 
the doctrine of unconditional election of a part of the Imman race to 
eternal glory, and reprol)ation of the remainder to eternal woe ; and 
taught lier son to bi'licve tliat tliis inference of tlie AVestminster doctors 
was a slander against the justice of God. The whole AVesley family 
accepted the Apostles' Creed as the best statement of theoretical 
religion ; so also did the Holy Club, and they strove after inward holi- 
ness by tlie practice of outwai'd morality and by the help of all the 
means of grace of which they had any kiiowleilge. 

What was the fault of all this ( 

None at all ; it was good as far as it went ; l)ut it was oidy one side 
of the subject — the human side; it was an attenqit to ti'nin and de- 
velop the old nature into a state of holiness, instead of seeking for 
the new nature which is born of God : it was trying to turn the 
carnal mind from its enmity toward G(jd, instead of displacing it 

The Holy Club. 101 

witli the mind that was in Christ ; it was cnkivatinjj; the corrnpt tree 
so as to make it bring forth good frnit ; it was going abont to establish 
tlieir own rigliteousncss, whereby they overlooked the righteousness 
that is by faith. 

Tn those days, Mhile, as Bunyan has it, Mr. Wesley was in charge 
of Mr. Legality, he tlnis speaks of his work : — 

" 1 ])reached much, but saw no fruit of my labor. Indeed, it could 
not be that I should, for I neither laid the foundation of repentance 
nor of believing in the Gospel ; taking it for granted that all to whom 
I preached were believers, and that many of them needed no repentance.'' 
Nevertheless, while those who could not comprehend him called him 
" a crack-brained enthusiast," his outward piety was tlie admiration of 
the pious, as well as the despair of the profane. As a Iligh-Churcli- 
man of the most ultra sort, Wesley believed that one who had been 
baptized by a regularly ordained clergyman of the Church of England 
or of the Church of Kome was thereby made a Christian, and the chief 
difference he saw in such persons was in tlie degree of their faithful- 
ness to the vows taken by godfathers and godmothers on their behalf. 
Repentance with him was synonymous with reformation, that is, 
repentance toward one's self and his own past life instead of repent- 
ance toward God ; faith witli him signified holding correct religious 
opinions, and being in fellowship witli the Established Church ; but of 
that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ which claims him as a personal 
and present Saviour the Holy Club had a very faint conception. 

The Witness of the Spirit they understood to be no more than a 
kind of spiritual glow which might be sup^^osed to indicate the divine 
approbation, instead of the inter-communion between the soul of the 
regenerated believer and the Holy Spirit of God, whereby he assures 
them of their having passed from death unto life. 

" The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,'' saith the 
apostle, " that we are the children of God ; " and again, " For by one 
offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified, -whereof 
the Holy Spirit is witness to us." But the Holy Club looked for a 
perfecting themselves by themselves, with the help of God, to be sure, 
and they sought for a sense of God's smile upon the success of their 
efforts to please him. They made a splendid effort to attain salvation 
by law, and they came as near to it, no doubt, as any class of men since 

102 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

the world began ; they were admirable specimens of theological and 
ecclesiastical piety ; but he that is least in the kingdom of God is 
greater than they. The whole land was blatant with heresy and 
reeking vrith vice, and they determined to oppose the tide. 

With what ? 

With exhortations ; with condemnations of sin ; with sacraments and 
litm'gies ; and, above all, with the power of pious example. 

No wonder they failed. It is hard work for a man to lift himself. 
Even their miserable parish in Bocardo, on which they spent so much 
time and money, was httle credit to them, for the poor debtors took 
their alms, hstened to their prayers and jDreaching, and relapsed into 
brawHng and fighting again as soon as they were gone. The preacher 
was not yet converted himseK ; how, then, could he be expected to 
strengthen his brethren? Only Whitefield, out of this whole com- 
pany of Oxford devotees, had escaped from the bondage of self-right- 
eousness, and found his way into the hberty of the cliildren of God. 

Why was he thus favored above the rest ? 

EA-idently because he was the first to reach the point of absolute 
despair of being able to save himself. 

The Holy Club Broken tp. — Xot long after his conver- 
sion Whitefield, prostrated in body by his terril)le struggles of soul, 
left Oxford for a visit to his home in Gloucester ; Gambold was 
ordained and settled as a curate in the httle village of Stanton-Har- 
court ; Broughton went up to London as curate at The Tower ; 
Inffham took a cm-acv in Essex : the two Weslevs went up to 
Westminster, where their brother Samuel resided ; Hervey went home 
to Hardingstone, and for a season Oxford was clear of its MethocUsts. 

Had the fire burned out ? 

Xot at all. God was only scattering the brands that he might set 
the whole kingdom in a blaze. 

The subsequent careers of the different members of the Holy 
Club are various ; some of them painful. William Morgan was the 
first to represent the Club above, he having, shortly after its dissolu- 
tion, fallen into a melancholy or mania which presently resulted in liis 
death. Charles Kinchin, a lovely character, soon followed him. 
James Hervey will be loved and honored as one of the brightest 
examples of Christian living, and the author of " The Meditations," one 

The Holy Club. 


of tlie sweetest devotional compositions in the English language. On 
the other hand, the High-Churchism of Clayton was a serious blot on 
his clerical career. Broughton's usefulness was crippled and cut short by 
his imperfect, stunted, stereotyped views of Christian truth. Westley 
Hall, who married one of the Wesley sisters, was a disgrace both to 
his family and the Church ; though it may be charitably hoj)ed he 
died a penitent. John Whitelamb, another of Wesley's brothers-in- 
law, sank down into an ecclesiastical village drone. Gambold was a 
good man, though injured by the visionary and fanciful notions of the 
Moravians. Ingham was for many years one of the most successful 
evangelists, whose work was blessed to the conversion of multitudes of 
souls throughout England and Ireland ; but by reason of certain ill- 
judged connections which he formed, his last days were not his best. 
From year to year this band of brothers, the Oxford Methodists, 
drifted further and further apart in their views of doctrine and 
Church government, and at length were even brought into painful col- 
lision with each other ; but, with the exception of Hall, they were all 
sincere, earnest, laborious ministers of Christ, while the Wesleys and 
Whitefield have attained a place in the history of the Church which 
will render their fame immortal. 




0? '^'V^ 




A Soul to be Naved. — It 

was John Wesley's intention after 
he had obtained his Fellowship at 
Lincoln College to spend his life at 
Oxford in efforts to save his soul. 
This M-as all the time np])erniost in 
his mind. Tie studied tlie Greek 
and Hebrew Scriptures to save hi& 
soul ; he fasted and prayed to save 
his soul ; he preached in churches 
and tanght in prisons to save his 
soul ; he fed the hungry and 
clothed the naked to save his soul ; 
he led a life of severity and self- 
mortification and made himself the 
object of ridicule and abuse to save 
liis soul. Poor man! He had a 
troublesome soul on his haruls, and 

A ilAl' OS THE SAVANNAH COUNTRY did llot IvllOW wluit tO do witll it. 

^^' ^■^"- His old father, now about to die, 

greatly desired John to succeed him in the Epworth rectorship, but 
the son resisted all his fatherly entreaties on the plea that he could 
save liis soul better at Oxford than at Epworth. His fatlier then 
urged that his ordination vows made it his duty to take a parish as 
soon as one could be had ; whereupon he yielded the point, for duty 
was, with him, the end of all argument, and applied for the Epworth 
"living;" but liis overmuch severity in religion liad reached the ears 
of certain men who had the power of influencing the appointment, 
and his application was refused. ]^ow his way was clear; he could 
stay in Oxford, give himself up to pious studies and labors, be a 

The Mission to America. 105 

Methodist of the saiuthest sort, and, somehow or other, manage to save 
liis soul. 

The Colony of CJeorj^ia.— On the 25th of April, 1735, 
Samuel Wesley died, and after the burial his son John went up to 
London, where a strange experience awaited him. 

Just at this time the project of James Edward Oglethorpe (after- 
ward General) for colonizing a crowd of poor debtors, who. by his 
influence had been released from the prisons of England, was receiving 
much attention. Those were the days of harsh government. The 
gallows was the penalty for petty thefts ; thousands of men in Great 
Britain rotted in prison for the misfortune of being poor ; a small 
debt was quite enough to expose a struggling deljtor to the penalty of 
imprisonment, and an indiscreet bargain doomed many a well-meaning 
dupe to hfelong confinement ; for, once within the walls of a debtors' 
prison, a poor wretch was often as completely lost to the world as if he 
had been in his grave. 

Oglethorpe, whose attention had been attracted by this great abuse, 
obtained a Parliamentary Commission to inquire into the state of the 
English prisons, the result of which was, that a large number of debt- 
ors were released from confinement and restored to fight and lil)erty. 

But what was to be done with these people, to whom, indeed, the 
prison had opened its doors, but against whom all other doors were 
now shut i 

There was still a small strip of sea-coast in America which had not 
been "granted" to any body, bounded by the Saviinnah River on the 
north and the Altamaha on the south ; and here, by royal charter, was 
located the Colony of Georgia ; the country being vested in a board of 
twenty-one trustees for a period of twenty-one years, " in trust for the 
poor." The sum of thirty-six thousand pounds was raised by public 
subscription to aid this popular charity, ten thousand of it being a 
donation from the Bank of England, and in the month of Xovember, 
1733, the first ship-load of superfluous English poverty, comprising 
one hundred and twenty persons, with Oglethorpe at their head, 
landed at the spot where now stands the beautiful city of Savannah. 

The next year their numbers were increased by a company of 
persecuted Protestants from Saltzburg, in Germany, whose afiiictions 
coming to the knowledge of the English Society for the Propagation 

106 Illustrated History of Methodisji. 

of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, led to tlie proposal to settle tliem also 
in Georgia ; whieli kind offer they joyfully accepted, and soon became 
.. tliiiving community, fearing God and loving one another. Three 
other ship-loads of emigrants subsequently reached the colony ; one of 
Scotch Highlanders, one of Moravians, while the third was a mixed 
nmltitude, which had been attracted by the accounts of this open 
door into a new world, and with wliom Oglethorpe returned a second 
time to America, taking with him the pious young " Fellow of Lincoln 
College " as their spiritual adviser. 

John Wesley was sent out to Georgia by the Society above-men- 
tioned as a kind of missionary chaplain, at a salary of £50 a year. He 
was accompanied by his brother, Charles "Wesley ; by Ingham, one of 
the Holy Club from Oxford ; and by a young man named Delamotte, 
who had become a great admirer of Mr. Wesley, and who, against the 
wishes of his family, tm'ned his back on a good business opening at 
home to become the servant of this missionary in the wilds of Xorth 

But what has changed the purpose of this Oxford devotee ? 
Xothing. The purpose is not changed ; only the means of its 

Here are his own words relative to tliis momentous step out from 
his beloved Oxford into the Western wilderness : — 

.,;,^ "My chief motive is the hope of 

saving my o^vn soul. I hope to learn 
the true sense of the Gospel by 
preaching it to the heathen. They 
have no comments to constnie away 
the text, no vain philosophy to cor- 
rupt it, no luxurious, sensual, covet- 
ous, ambitious expounders to soften 
its unpleasing truths. They have no 
party, no interest to serve, and are, 
therefore, fit to receive the Gospel in 
its simplicity. They are as little children, humble, willing to learn, 
and eager to do the will of God." 

Fine people, those savages I A greater amount of pious ignorance 
and absurdity it would be hard to express in the same number of words. 

The Missio^^ to Amebic a. 107 

After setting forth how much easier he expects it will be for him 
to lead a life of sanctity in the wilderness, where most of his tempta- 
tions will be removed, he continues in the following strain : — 

" I have been a grievous sinner from my youth up, and am yet 
laden with foolish and hurtful desires ; but I am assured, if I be once 
converted myseK, God will then employ me both to streng-then my 
brethren and to preach his name to the Gentiles. 

" I cannot hope to attain the same degree of holiness here which I 
may there. I shall lose nothing I desire to keep. ... It will be no 
small thing to be able, without fear of giving offense, to live on water 
and the fruits of the earth . . . The pomp and show of this world 
have no place in the wilds of America." 

In all this ridiculous letter there is not one word about a sense of 
duty. So far as it is possible to gather from "Wesley's own writings, 
he never felt that God was sending him across the sea, or that the 
American heathen had any claim upon him ; it was only one of his 
many schemes of self-mortification to help him in saving his soul. 

Was it, then, a delusion of the devil ? 

Judging by his ridiculous failure, one might answer, Yes. Judg- 
ing, also, by his distinguished unfitness for such a mission at this 
period of his life, it would be easy to reach the same conclusion. 

But there is another side to the question. The Reverend John 
Wesley is now thirty-two years old ; a man as notable for sanctity 
as he is eminent for learning. He is a great honor to his college, and 
a valuable assistant in its scholastic work. He knows more of books 
and less of human nature than any other man in Oxford whose record 
has come down to our times ; he is a presbyter of the Church of 
England, on which account he claims that he belongs to a superior 
order of mortals, though as yet he does not think himself in a state 
of saving grace, and has only an official ministry to offer; and 
so completely is his common sense blindfolded by the rituals of his 
Church and his own clerical pretensions, that if he is ever to amount 
to any thing as a minister of the Gospel those traditional bandages 
must be torn from his eyes. 

A more remarkaljle mixture of learning and ignorance, of piety 
and pretension, of dogmatism and devotion, than that which made up 
the character of John Wesley at this transitional period of his life, it 


is difficult to imagine. He is turnino; his back upon those surround- 
ings and duties which are most congenial to his scholarly tastes and 
habits, and actually anticipating with pleasure a life among a crowd of 
savages. Civilization has its vices, which interfere with his great 
desire for holiness ; he therefore eagerly exchanges it for barbarism, 
and dreams of saving his soul with the help of an Indian hut. He is 
taking his life in his hand, half expecting, anfl wholly willing, to lose 
it. He will preach for awhile among the colonists of Savannah, till 
he finds how to begin his mission among the Indians, of whom he 
thinks as so many "little children," destitute both of opinions and 
character, " willing to learn, and eager to do the will of God ;" and 
when this path oj)ens before him he will bid adieu to the temptations 
of this vain and wicked world, and bury himself in the woods. 

All this he deliberately chooses to do without any call of God to a 
missionary life, without any fitness for it except heroism, without any 
love for it except what results from his misapprehension of it, without 
any especial love for the souls to whom he proposes to minister, and 
without any clear sense of love for God, in whose name he is going to 
do it : he is simply about to make a grand experiment, to see if some- 
thing will not come of it that will help him to save his soul. 

But if his self-appointed mission be only a piece of devout self- 
righteousness, he fulfills it in a manner worthy of admiration. He is 
traveling the wrong road, but it is a splendid sight to see how he 
pushes on ; his zeal is not according to knowledge, but his Father in 
heaven understands tliis singidar child, and is giving liiiii a chance to 
toss upon the stormy bosom of the ocean, to dash liis head against the 
trees of the wilderness, to wade tlirough swamps, to freeze and starve, 
to be duped and abused, and be made the scapegoat of a scandalous 
quarrel, all with the evident purpose of widening the scope of his 
vision, driving some of the pious conceit out of liim. showing him liow 
weak and contemptible a thing is nuM-i-ly official religion, and, withal, 
of opening his understanding, through the teachings of some of the 
simple-minded Moravians, to that pivotal doctrine of the Wesleyan 
revival — the regeneration of the penitent sinner by tlie power of the 
Holy Ghost through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

It wa.s arranged that Charles AV'^esley should go out to Georgia as 
the Governor's secretary, and he now took orders as a clergyman, that 

The Mission to America. 109 

he might assist his brother in liis ministry. T lie two Wesleys, Ing- 
liam, and Dehimotte, made a solemn agreement in writing to the effect 
that in order to maintain nnity among themselves, no one of the four 
should undertake any thing of importance without consulting with 
the other three ; that all (|uestions should be decided by vote ; and 
that in case of an even division of opinion the matter, after being laid 
before the Lord, should be decided by lot. 

During the voyage they were as methodical and industrious as 
ever ; dividing their time, from four o'clock in the morning until eight 
o'clock in the evening, with brief allowance for meals, between 
prayers, reading the Scriptures, writing sermons, preaching, catechis- 
ing the children on board, giving personal instruction to chosen indi- 
viduals among the crew and passengers, and attendance upon the 
daily religious services of the Moravians, who, with their bishop, Da- 
vid Nitschmann, were going out to join their brethren in Georgia. 

On one occasion the ship encountered a terrible storm, and the sea 
broke over the deck while the Moravians were singing their evening 
hymn. The other passengers screamed with terror, but the Moravians 
calmly sang on, as if nothing had happened. After the service was 
over, Wesley said to one of them : — 

" Were you not afraid ? " 

" I thank God, no," was his reply. 

" But were not your women and children afraid ? " 

" No. Our women and cliildren are not afraid to die." 

This incident made a ])rofound impression upon Wesley's mind, 
for he records it in hi;5 Journal with the remark, "This is the most 
glorious day which I have ever seen." 

These Moravians were " regular " Christians, having the three 
orders of the ministry. Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, according to the 
English and the Romish ritual ; therefore John Wesley with a clear 
conscience joined in their worship of God. which he would by no 
means have done had they been Presbyterians, Baptists, or Quakers. 
They were far in advance of him in the experience of salvation, and 
he had the sense to see it, and the humility to confess it, and also to 
ask advice of their chief men in respect to the work he had laid out 
for himself in America. 

The voyage from Cowes to the Savannah Kiver was made in fifty- 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

seven davs, during whicli Oglethorpe treated the missionaries with 
great kindness. On one occasion, when some of the officers and gen- 
tlemen on board took liberties with Wesley and his friends, Ogle- 
thorpe indignantly exclaimed, " "What mean yon, sirs ? Do you take 
these gentlemen for tithe-pig parsons ? They are gentlemen of learn- 
in «• and respectability. They are my friends, and .whoever offers an 
affront to them insults me." This was quite enough, and thereafter 
the Methodists were treated with respect. 



A ^Vord ill Season.— Oglethorpe w\as irritable, but noble- 
hearted and generous. One day Wesley, hearing an unusual noise in 
the General's cabin, entered to inquire the cause ; on which the angry 
soldier cried ; 

" Excuse me, Mr. Wesley ; I have met with a provocation too 
g!vat to bear. This villain, Grimaldi, [an Italian servant,] has drunk 

The Mission to America. Ill 

nearly the whole of my Cyprus wine, the only wine that agrees with 
me, and several dozens of which I had provided for myself. But I 
am determined to be revenged. The rascal shall be tied hand and 
foot, and be carried to the man-of-war ; for I never forgive." 

"Then," said Wesley, with great calmness and gentleness, "I 
hope, sir, you never sin." 

Oglethorpe Avas confounded. His vengeance was gone. He put 
his hand into his pocket, pulled out a bunch of keys and threw them 
at Grimaldi, saying, " There, villain ! take my keys, and behave better 
for the future." 

Wesley's SeholarsliEi>. — The remarkable powers of mind 
possessed by John Wesley are indicated by these facts : There was a 
large number of German-speaking people among the ship's company, 
his ]\[oravian friends and others, and he at once commenced the study 
of the German language, that he might converse with, and preach to, 
them. When he reached Savannah he discovered some Frenchmen 
and Italians also, and toward the close of his polyglot mission we find 
him publicly as well as privately instructing them all in their own 

The following is a list of his Sunday appointments at Savannah : — 

" 1. English prayers from five o'clock till half -past six. 

" 2. Italian prayers at nine. 

" 3. A sermon and the Holy Communion for the English, from 
haK-past ten to about half-past twelve. 

" 4. The service for the French at one ; including prayers, psalms, 
and Scripture exposition. 

"5. The catechising of the children at two. 

" 6. The third English service at three. 

*' 7. After this a meeting in his own house for reading, prayer, 
and praise. 

" 8. At six o'clock the Moravian service began, which he was 
glad to attend, not to teach, but to learn." * 

Besides this he held two services for the Germans during the week, 

one at the village of Hampstead and one in the town of Savannah, and 

two services for the French, at the village of Highgate and in town. He 

afterward studied Spanish in order to converse with some Sj^anisli Jews. 

* Tyermax's " Life and Times of Wesley." 

112 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

TTeslej's mission opened prosperously. His census of liis new 
parish in 1737, gives the number at five hundred and eighteen souls. 
The only other settlements in Georgia were the French and German 
villages above named, Avliich lay four or five miles to the soutli-west ; 
the little hamlet called Tliunderbolt, six miles to the south-east ; the 
Moravian town of Xew Ebenezer, nineteen miles distant ; Darien, the 
settlement of the Scotch Highlanders, eighty miles, and Frederica, on 
St. Simond's Island, a hundred miles to the south of Savannah. 

Besides these there were some thousands of Choctaw, Chickasaw, 
Cherokee, Creek, and Uchee Indians within the hmits of the colony ; 
a lazy, drunken, gluttonous, murderous crew, absolute pagans, sunk in 
all the depths of savagery, some of whom would occasionally make 
their appearance at the white settlements to trade, to beg, and to steal ; 
but from first to last Wesley never found among tliem any of those 
docile httle children of nature who were " ready to hear, and eager to 
do, the will of God ;" and never during the nearly two years which 
he spent in America did he find how to make even a beginning of 
preaching the Gospel among them, they being determined " not to 
hear the great word which the white man had to teach." It was, 
therefore, necessary that he should devote himself wholly to the 
Europeans. His brother Charles and Mr. Ingham presently went 
with a few colonists to lay out the village of Frederica, al)(>ve men- 
tioned, and John Wesley and his devoted follower. Delamotte, began 
their pastoral work at Savannah. 

Troubles Tiiickeil.— But tlie people who smiled on him 
because of his friend, tlie Governor, soon began to frown on him 
because of himself. The doctrines and practices whose rigidness and 
severity had incensed a learned and church-going community like 
Oxford, were not hkely to find favor among such a motley crowd as 
tliat in Ogletliorpe's little domain of (rc<)rgia. He read morning 
and evening prayers publicly every day, preached very plain and 
searching sermons on Sunday, which cut to the bone, and caused a 
good many sinners to be "exceeding mad" against him for Avhat they 
called his '' satires upon particular persons." He organized another 
Holy Club, wliicli met three times a week for Scripture reading, 
psalm-singing, and prayer, and he and young Delamotte each set up a 
little school. 

The Mission to Amekioa. 113 

Mr. Tyerman, in liis admirable " Life and Times of John Wesley," 
relates this characteristic incident : — 

Some of the boys in Mr. Delamotte's school were too poor to wear 
shoes and stockings, on wliich account those who conld boast of being 
shod used to tease them for going barefoot. The teacher tried to 
correct this small cruelty, but failed, and reported his want of success 
to his master. 

" I think I can cure it," said Wesley, " and if you will exchange 
schools with me I will try." Accordingly, the next Monday morning 
the teachers exchanged schools, and what was the surprise of Wesley's 
new scholars to see their teacher and minister coming to school 
barefoot ! Before the week was ended it began to be fasliionable in 
that school to disj^ense with shoes and stockings, and nothing further 
was heard of persecution on that account. 

In writing home to his mother Mr. Wesley describes his new home 
.as "pleasant beyond imagination, and exceedingly healthy," though 
he says that some of his parishioners are already very angry at him. 

While the revolt against his spiritual authority was gathering 
strength his brother and his friend Ingham were meeting with similar 
trials at Frederica. The Reverend Charles began by magnifying his 
•office and carrying out his rituahstic notions with a high hand. He 
also attempted the j)ractical but impracticable office of settling the 
quarrels of certain scolding women ; and in one way and another 
brought himself into such bad odor with these semi-barbarians that 
-they actually denied him a place to sleep, and he was forced to make 
his bed on the ground. 

They filled the ears of the Grovernor with stories against him, and 
in a short time the secretary was out of favor with his master, where- 
upon, having no visible protection, his few friends forsook him, he 
was charged with mutiny, and his life became so intolerable that 
"witliin three weeks after his arrival at Frederica he dispatched 
Inffham to Savannah for advice. The elder brother made all haste to 
visit the scene of hostilities, but his office as peace-maker was a sad 
failure ; for he had only just returned to Savannah when Charles 
Tnade his appearance there, having been actually put to flight by the 
•outrageous treatment of his parishioners. The brothers then ex- 
<;hanged their fields of labor, but in a month and a day John Wesley„ 

114 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

also, -was forced to abandon liis cure of souls at Frederica and to 
return to Savannah, having been, as he says, " betrayed, scorned, and 
insulted by those I had most labored to serve." 

After five months Charles Wesley returned to England to beg for 
re-enforcements, and at the end of the first year Ingham followed 
him, having accomphshed literally nothing of all the pious purposes 
with which they set out. John Wesley and his faithful Delamotte 
remained for another year, when they, too, were glad to escape under 
circumstances which his enemies for a hundred years have used to 
traduce Wesley's character and belittle his fame. 

During the second year, in spite of the sad experience he had suf- 
fered, John Wesley kept on in his course of High-church dogmatism. 
With him a direction set down in the Prayer Book was in those days 
almost as binding as a text of Scripture ; and by both these books, not 
by either without the other, he determined to stand or fall. He in- 
sisted on baptizing infants by immersion unless it was declared by the 
parents that they were too feeble to bear it ; he would not allow per- 
sons to stand as godfathers and godmothers who did not certify that 
they had received the Holy Communion; he refused the Lord's 
Supper to those who did not give previous notice of their intention to 
present themselves ; his visitation from house to house was looked 
upon as a systematic espionage ; and it was charged that he attempted 
to establish a system of confessions, fasts, and other religious mortifi- 
cations, which, though well enough in accordance with the Bible and 
the Book of Common Prayer, were not at all agreeable to these Savan- 
nah colonists, whom their zealous minister was trying either to lead or 
drive into the kingdom of heaven. He rigidly excluded all Dissenters 
from the Holy Communion until they gave up their principles and sub- 
mitted to be rebaptized by him ; nevertheless he received Roman 
Catholics as good and regular Christians, on which account his ene- 
mies denounced him as a Pomanist in disguise. 

In Georgia, says Tyerman, " Wesley was treating Dissenters with 
the supercilious tyranny of a High-church bigot." He watched liis 
flock too closely to suit their notions of liberty ; he used his influence 
•with the Governor to have strict laws enacted for the promotion of out- 
ward morality ; and to such a degree did he cross the tastes and temjxjr 
of the motley crowd, that certain of the baser sort were actually ready 

The Mission to Ameeica. 


to kill liim. One stout virago invited him into her house, and, having 
overpowered him — for Weslej was a small, weak man — she cut off all 
the long auburn locks from one side of his head, leaving the other side 
untouched ; and the persecuted man, by way of making the most of 
his sufferings for the truth's sake, actually appeared in the pulpit with 
his hair in this one-sided condition. 

In January, 1737, Wesley and Delamotte paid another visit to Fred- 
erica, where they arrived after having lost their way in tlie woods, 
waded breast deep in swamps, and slept on the ground in their wet 
clothes, which were frozen stiff in the morning. But the ])eople O- 


that wretched settlement w^ere as untractable as ever, and, after spend- 
ing some twenty days among them, during which his life was repeated- 
ly threatened, "Wesley left the place forever, and returned to face his 
enemies at Savannah, who were j^reparing a long indictment against 

" All Escape frooi Matrimony." — To make matters worse, 
Wesley fell in love with a beautiful and accomphshed young lady, 
who had first sought his help in learning the French language, and, 
later, his instruction in rehgion. She was the niece of the wife of 

116 Illustrated History of Methodisjl 

one Thomas Causton, an unscrupulous adventurer who had so far won 
the good opinion of Governor Oglethorpe as to be made chief magis- 
trate of the colony, which office he administered with the most ridic- 
ulous state and dignity. 

For a time the affairs of the two young people went on smoothly 
enough. Causton, who acted as the young lady's guardian, was pleased 
with the match, the Governor did all he could to help it on, the lady 
herseK was an apt scholar, if not in her French, at least in her piety, 
and when her clerical lover fell sick she nursed him as faithfully as if 
she had been his wife already. Thus the poor missionary had one ray 
of sunshine in his dark and stormy sky. But, alas for him ! This 
learned gentleman, who in after years developed so great a knowledge 
of men, never could understand a woman. He was quite impressible 
to female charms ; used while at Oxford to write pious letters to high- 
born ladies signing himself " Cyrus," and addressing them by like 
fanciful titles : — chief of whom was " Aspasia," whose real name 
was Mary Granville, a niece of Lord Lansdowne, a beautiful, wealthy, 
and accomplished woman, who was haK captivated by the extraordinary 
learning, piety, and courtesy of the chief of the Oxford Methodists. 
But " something happened " — nobody knows what — and John Wesley 
was still a bachelor ; a little lonely, perhaps, and well he might be in 
such a wretched lodge in the wilderness. 

Miss Sophia Christiana Hopkey was a proper young person, of a 
thoughtful and studious turn of mind, as anxious to learn as Wesley 
was to teach — the most promising lamb in all liis troublesome flock ; 
and this young missionary did just what almost any other man might 
have done in a similar case, that is to say, he bestowed a larger amount 
of pastoral care on this sweet parishioner than was strictly necessary, 
and suffered her to capture what there was left of his heart. 

But his pupil, Delamotte, for some reason or other was displeased 
with the drift of affairs, and ventured to ask his master if he really 
meant to marry the girl ; whereupon "Wesley, who in such matters 
As-as ever of a doubtful mind, laid the subject before his friends, the 
Moravian elders. Delamotte was too active in the business, as appears 
from the fact that when Mr. Wesley appeared to submit his case be- 
fore the synod of Moravians he found his pupil already there among 

The Mission to America. 117 

" Will you abide by our decision ? " asked Bishop Nitschmann. 

" I will," replied Mr. Wesley, after some hesitation. 

" Then we advise you," said Nitschmann, " to proceed no further 
in the matter." 

" The will of the Lord be done," responded Wesley ; and from that 
time, says Moore, one of his biographers, " he avoided every thing 
that tended to continue the intimacy with Miss Hopkey, and behaved 
with the greatest caution toward her ;" a course of conduct which 
might have been more to his credit if he had entered upon it earher. 

In Mr. Wesley's counsels to young Methodist preachers he lays 
down this rule : " Take no step toward marriage without consulting 
with your brethren ;" a piece of extra scriptural advice which certainly 
was not supported by his experience in this case, unless, indeed, he 
was of the opinion that if he had consulted with the brethren at an 
earlier stage of the proceedings he might have saved himself a great 
deal of trouble ; however that may be, it is certain that by jDublicly 
submitting this delicate question to the decision of the Moravian elders, 
and bhndly binding himself to obey their will, he committed the 
supreme blunder in that list of absurdities which make up the record 
of his mission to America. 

Of course the lady was indignant that her priestly lover, having 
won her, should ask the Moravian brethren whether or no he might 
take her, and she showed her resentment by immediately marrying 
another man, one Williamson, of whom Mr. AYesley, in his Journal, 
expresses this somewhat spiteful opinion : — 

" March 8. Miss Sophy engaged herself to Mr. Williamson, a per- 
son not remarkable for handsomeness, neither for greatness, neither 
for wit, or knowledge, or sense, and, least of all, for religion." 

Four days afterward they were married, and of this event the 
afflicted lover writes : " What thou doest, O Lord, I know not now, but 
I shall know hereafter." That he was deeply wounded there can be no 
duubt, for after a lapse of nearly fifty years, in looking back upon that 
sad experience he says : " I was pierced through as with a sword. But 
our comfort is. He that made the heart can heal the heart." It 
never for one moment appears to enter his mind what grief he may 
have caused the young lady whom he sacrificed to the opinions of men 
tliat had no right to judge the case at all, and his pious resignation is 

118 Illustrated History of ]\Iethodis:m. 

a poor atonement for his manifest unfaithfulness to the woman he 
loved, whose afEections he had sought, and who, according to all ac- 
counts, was every way worthy to be his wife. 

If tliis had been the only unfortunate experience of this kind in 
the career of the great Methodist it might be possible to accept the 
above pious expressions as evidence of an exquisite agony, of life-long 
martyrdom, in consequence of his haK-formed judgment that a priest 
ought not to marry, at least, not without the approval of his brethren ; 
but this was his third love affair,* and he afterward had two more 
rather notable ones, as we shall see, the last of which resulted in a 
hasty and ill-assorted marriage ; therefore, it is difficult to be very 
much moved by these sorrowful words, or even to charge over to the 
Lord what was the plain result of his own misdoing. A heart once 
broken may be an object of tender sympathy, but a heart broken 
several times over, even though it be the heart of John AVesley, is 
somehow suggestive of frailty, as well as of affection. 

Miss Sophy declares that when "Wesley learned of hej* engagement 
to Williamson he renewed his addresses in the most vehement man- 
ner, and even offered to give up some of his severe, High-clmrch prac- 
tices, on account of which he had become so obnoxious to the colonists, 
and to settle down with her at Savannah ! f — the personal character 
of this lady is highly praised by Mr, Wesley's chief biographer, who 
accepts her statement without contradiction — but after such behavior 
there was no pardon possible. Besides, she was now pledged to another, 
and, if Wesley was willing to break his vow to the Moravians, Miss 
Sophy would not break hers to her affianced husband. 

It is not a little amusing to read in the solemn pages of some of 
Wesley's biographers the grave surmises of what calamities would have 
befallen if he had not " escaped " from this, and that, and the other love 
affair ; how lie would in one case have settled into a mere country par- 
son, in another have come to ])e a life-long missionary to the Georgia 
Indians, etc. As if the Lord could not make use of John Wesley 
jnarried as well as John Wesley single ! Is not matrimony a means 
of grace ? And has not God been able to make great use of other 
married men ? 

If there is any blessedness in " escaping " from impending matri- 

• "The Living AVesley," by Dr. Rigg. f Tyermax's "Life and Times of Wesley," p. 149. . 

The Mission to Amebic a. 119 

mony to wMcli he by liis own conduct was repeatedly "exposed," 
then John Wesley is entitled to be congratulated on his good for- 
tune ; but sensible men, and all women whatever, are more likely to 
look on such halting between two opinions as an evidence of pitiful 
weakness instead of providential j)rotection. And why, on the latter 
supposition, was he suffered at last to fall into the hands of the widow 
Yazeille, who used actually to tear his hair ? 

Mrs. "Williamson was still one of his parishioners, and when, some 
raionths after her marriage, he gave her some pastoral reproof, and at 
another time publicly repelled her from the Lord's Supper, her hus- 
band and her former guardian took up the quarrel, framed the indict- 
ment above mentioned, and cited the missionary to appear before his 
high mightiness, Mr. Chief Magistrate Causton for trial, on the charge 
of various priestly tyrannies, and especially for the affront to Mrs. 
Williamson, whose husband sued for damages for defamation to the 
amount of one thousand j)ounds. 

The whole colony was in an uproar. It was said, of course, that 
Mr. Wesley had refused the Lord's Supper to the lady because she had 
refused to marry him ; to which he replied that he had given her the 
Eucharist several times since her marriage, and that the reason of his 
refusal on this occasion was, that she did not give notice to him, accord- 
ing to the rubric in the Prayer Book, of her intention to present herself 
at the Lord's table, and, therefore, his act could not be understood in 
the light of a public defamation of her Christian character and stand- 
ing ; the more because he had treated several other persons in the 
same way. To the other charges he replied that the acts complained 
of were ecclesiastical in their character, and over such cases Mr. Jus- 
tice Causton's court had no jurisdiction, notwithstanding that the 
grand jury of Savannah had found a true bill against him. 

In the action for damages he prepared to defend himself, and 
demanded an early trial, but it was put over from time to time on 
various pretexts ; and after the seventh postponement, the plaintiff, 
finding he could neither obtain justice nor be of any use as a minister 
under such conditions, gave up in despair, and announced his purpose 
of returning to England. 

Upon this the magistrates demanded that he should give bail for 
his appearance when wanted, but Wesley still defied their authority, 

120 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

and in return they gave orders that he should not be permitted to 
leave the colony, and forbidding any person to assist him in so doing. 
They also brought another minister to perform service in the parish, 
a Mr. Dixon, who was chaplain to some soldiers at Frederica; and 
thus practically supplanted Mr. "Wesley in his office. 

Wesley's Fareivell to Georgia. — That same evening 
TVesley, with four other fugitives, who had reasons of their own for 
getting away, started in an open boat for Port Royal, in South 
Carolina ; which place they reached after hard toiling and rowing by 
sea, and great hardships by land, on the 6th of December, 1737. On 
the 8th Mr. Delamotte rejoined his master, at Port Poyal, when they 
took a small craft and started for the port of Charleston, which they 
reached on the 13th. On the 22d John Wesley bade a long good-bye- 
to the inhospitable shores of North America, and on the 1st of 
February reached England, only one day after George "Whitefield had 
set sail for the very colony that he had been compelled to leave. 

It appears that when their much-abused minister had actually gone- 
and left them, some of his old parishioners began to feel more kindly 
toward him, and managed to find a good word to say of him to his 
friend Whitefield, when he arrived ; for Mr. Whitefield, in a letter 
from Georgia, says : " The good Mr. John Wesley has done in 
America is inexpressible. His name is very precious among the 
people, and he has laid a foundation that I hope neither men nor 
de^als will ever be able to shake." 

Foundation of what ? Neither Mr. Whitefield nor any one else has 
ever been able to tell. 

Mr. Wesley himseK writes in a different strain, 

" Many reasons I have to bless God for my having been carried to 
America, contrary to all my preceding resolutions. Hereby I trust 
he hath in some measure humbled me and proved me, and shown 
me what was in my heart. I went to America to convert the 
Indians ; but O, who shall convert me ? . . . 

" This, then, I have learned in the ends of the earth — that I am 
fallen short of the glory of God ; that my whole heart is altogether 
cornipt and abominable ; . . . that my own works, my own sufferings, 
my own righteousness, are so far from reconciling me to an offended 
God, so far from making; an atonement for the least of those sins- 

The Mission to America. 121 

wliicli are more in number tlian the liairs of my head, that the most 
epecious of them need an atonement themselves or they cannot abide 
his righteous judgment. ... I liave no hope but that if I seek I shall 
find Christ, and be found in him, not having my own righteousness, 
but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which 
is of God by faith." This strong statement he afterward modified 
by remarking that even then he had " the faith of a servant, but not 
of a son." 

Blessed is the man who can learn wisdom from his own mistakes ; 
and such a man was John Wesley. When he set out for Georgia he 
was brave enough to face all manner of death if thereby he could 
save his soul ; when he returned he had the added courage to confess 
himself to have been in the wrong. Then he was compassing sea and 
land to save his own soul ; now he is crying out to the Lord to save it 
for him. 

He was also in a way to be cured of his dogmatism, though the 
progress was slow on account of the severity of the disease. In 
referring to his refusing the Holy Communion to a godly man at Sa- 
vannah because he had not been baptized by a minister of his own 
order, Wesley, some ten years after, writes thus : " Can any one carry 
High-church zeal higher than this ? And how well have I since been 
beaten with mine own staff." 

From this time he dwelt continually upon salvation as the gift of 
God through faith in Jesus Christ. His first sermon on his return to 
London was at the Church of St. John the Evangehst, from the text, 
" If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." His second was at 
St. Andrew's Church, Holborn, on " Though I give aU my goods to 
feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not 
charity, it profiteth me nothing." On both of which occasions he 
gave such offense that the doors of those churches were henceforth 
shut against him. 

Truly those English Christians were hard to please. When at first 
he preached human virtue and sacramental holiness, they denounced 
him as a fanatic ; and now, when he preaches the failure of human 
righteousness and the all-sufficiency of saving grace, they shut their 
pulpits against him. In the one case he cut into their worldliness, in 
the other he wounded their pride. He has not yet attained unto that 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

sense of personal salvation of which his Moravian friends have told him, 
'. r. ^ but he has pretty effectually gotten rid 

of liiraseK. He has tried his great 
experiment, and it is a failure : the 
self-contained piety of the Holy Club, 
which he has preached and practiced 
on both sides of the ocean, now ap- 
pears but little better than sounding 
brass or a tinkling c\Tnbal. If there 
is to be any real salvation it must come 
from Jesus Christ, for " by the deeds 
of the law shall no flesh be justified." 
Thus the orthodox ritualist has come 
to be in doctrine, and soon will be in 
experience, the evangelical Christian. 
He has been of small account as a 
missionary to Georgia, but Georgia 
has been of great account as a train- 
ins-school for him. 



lyrO sooner were the Wesleys gone on tlieir mission to Georgia 
-L 1 than their chief pupil came to the front to begin that won- 
derful career on account of which it may be said of him, as was said 
of John the Baptist, " There was a man sent from God whose name 
was " George "Whiteiield. 

On the 20th of June, 1Y36, Bishop Benson ordained him deacon, 
and he went forth to preach, with almost apostolic power, the gospel 
doctrine of regeneration. The "boy parson," as he was called, was 
but Httle past twenty-one years old when he took the holy vows of 
ordination in the old cathedral of his native town of Gloucester, 
concerning which event he writes to a friend, as follows : — 

" I can call heaven and earth to witness that when the Bishop laid 
his hands upon me I gave myself up to be a martyr for Him who 
hung upon the cross for me. Known unto him are all future events 
and contingencies. I have thrown myself blindfold, and, I trust, 
without reserve, into his almighty hands." 

Of his outfit of sermons, he says : " N'ever a poor creature set up 
with so small a stock. I thought I should have time to make at least 
a hundred sermons with which to begin my ministry. But so far 
from this being the case, I have not a single one except that which I 
made for a small society, and which I sent to a neighboring clergyman 
to convince him how unfit I was to take upon me the important work of 
preaching." This discourse, of which he had so poor an oj)inion, was 
on " The Necessity and Benefit of Rehgious Society," and three days 
afterward he preached it to a great congregation in the church where, 
in his infancy, he had been baptized. 

The tapster of the Bell Inn was now come to be a parson ! from 
standing behind the bar he was come to stand in the pulpit ! and all 
Gloucester must needs come to hear the youthful prodigy, who was 
doing such great credit to their town. Here is his account of this 
maiden effort : — 

124 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

" Gloucester, June 30, 1736. 

" My Dear Friexd : Glory ! glory ! glory ! be ascribed to the 
Triune God ! Last Sunday, in the afternoon, I preached my first 
sermon in the Church of St. Mary de Crypt, where I was baptized, 
and also received the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Curiosity, as 
you may easily guess, drew a large congregation together. The sight 
at first a little awed me, but I was comforted with a heart-felt sense of 
the divine Presence, and soon found the unspeakable advantage of 
having been accustomed to pubhc speaking when a boy at school, and 
of exhorting and teaching the prisoners and poor people at their 
houses while at the University. By these means I was kept from 
being daunted ovennuch. As I proceeded I could see that the fire 
kindled, till at last, though so young, and amid a crowd who knew me 
in my childish days, I was enabled to speak with some degree of 
gospel authority. A few mocked, but most for the present seemed 
struck ; and I have since heard that a complaint has been made to the 
Bishop that I drove fifteen mad. The worthy prelate, as I am 
informed, wished that the madness might not be forgotten before next 
Sunday." ^ 

" He preached Kke a lion," was the comment of one of his simple- 
minded hearers on the " boy parson's " first sermon. 

The Gloucester people greatly desired to have Mr. Whitefield 
settle permanently among them, but he declined all their kind plans 
and offers, and on the 30th of June returned to Oxford, where, a few 
days after, he took his degree of Bachelor of Arts. It was his intention 
to spend a few years at this seat of learning, but there was larger and 
better work laid out for him. The Rev. Mr. Broughton, one of the 
early members of the Holy Club, and now chaplain of The Tower, in 
London, wrote to him to come up and fiill his place for a time, as he 
desired to be absent in the country, and young Whitefield, with great 
trembling, consented. 

He had been but a month in London, preaching with great success, 
when letters came from the Wesleys in Georgia desiring that more 
ministers be sent out to their assistance, and at once the heart of Mr. 
"Whitefield was fired with missionary zeal ; but many friends who had 
noticed his wonderful power and genius advised him to remain in 
England. After his return to Oxford he received the offer of a very 

Whitefield Oedained. 125 

profitable curacy in London, which he declined, though he was 
almost penniless and somewhat in debt, for no other apparent 
reason than that he did not hear the voice of God calling him in that 

The return of Mr. Charles Wesley from Georgia in December of 
that year was the signal for Whitefield to offer himself as a missionary 
to America. In his letter to that gentleman he ventures to ask him 
why he chose to go out as secretary to Mr. Oglethorpe instead of 
going in the character of a laborer in the Lord's vineyard, when by 
his own account there was such great need of such godly service — a 
question which must have probed the heart of this double-minded man 
very deeply. " Did the Bishop ordain us, my dear friend, to write 
bonds, receipts, etc., or to preach the gospel ? Or dare we not trust 
God to provide for our relations without endangering, or at least 
retarding, our spiritual improvement ? But I go too far. You know 
I was always heady and self-willed." 

This brief extract is of value in showing the utter forgetfulness of 
all things else with which Mr. Whitefield was throwing himself into 
his work, and at the same time it gives a hint of the filial duty which 
the Wesleys so faithfully jDerformed toward their mother, now a 
widow, and dependent on her sons for suj)port. 

The offer of the "boy-parson" having been accepted, he made 
ready for immediate departure. The little fleet with which he was to 
sail was to take out some soldiers for the defense of British interests 
in the Southern Colonies of America against the Spaniards, who were 
beginning to trouble them ; and as in those slow-going days such 
matters were not settled in haste, it was a whole year before every 
thing was quite ready and the three ships actually put to sea. 

And an eventful year it proved ; for in 1737 England was startled 
from its ecclesiastical slumbers as it never had been before. The httle 
cloud which first appeared at Oxford now overspread the heavens, and 
blessings began to pour down in torrents. This young missionary, 
whose intended departure across the sea was an excuse for his irregu-' 
larity, became a roving evangehst, and so wonderful was the success 
that attended his labors that his name was heralded all over the 
kingdom. He was soon in great request as a preacher of charity' 
sermons on behalf of schools, orphanages, and the hke. and, with a 

126 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

careful foresiglit of what lie might need in his new and distant parish, 
he also improved the opportunity by raising about three hundred 
pounds for his Georgia mission. 

But the great business of this young preacher, whose Hps had been 
touched by a Hve coal from God's altar, was to disseminate Method- 
ism throughout England. He raised a thousand pounds or so for 
charity, because people would give to him when they would not to 
another man ; but he had a higher mission than to carry a contribution 
box, high as that much-abused mission may be. The collections were 
only incidental, like the miracles of the apostles, and in both cases they 
served to establish the power and authority of the minister, while the 
real business in hand was to preach the Gospel to the poor ; in which 
work Whitefield far excelled all men who had ever preached in that 

Wliitefield's Theology.— The burden of the Enghsh pulpit 
in those days was morahty toward God and loyalty to the king. The 
people were exhorted to be good and they would be happy ; a doctrine 
which is well enough as far as it goes, but which falls lamentably short 
of the purposes for which the Gospel was ordained. The doctrine of 
regeneration was not then, and is not now, a very popular one among 
the EngKsh clergy. The pious and pugnacious Toplady, afterward 
one of the thorns in "Wesley's side, has been quoted to the effect that 
fifty years before his day " a converted minister in the Establishment 
was as great a wonder as a comet ; " and now, also, the case was very 
much the same. 

This was, however, the doctrine of all others which Whitefield knew 
how to preach. His rehgious experience was not one of those faint, 
intermittent, long-drawn, half-unconscious processes of grace which 
certain orthodox religious teachers (so-called) set forth as the appro- 
priate thing for all persons who wish to serve God elegantly and 
easily. He had been born again, and he knew it ; knew when, and 
where, and by what power ; he had passed suddenly from nature's 
darkness into the marvelous light of God's favor; he had been trans- 
formed by the renewing of his mind ; the Holy Spirit had been 
poured out upon him ; he had bathed in seas of joy and reveled in 
floods of glory ; no wonder, then, that for a time he preached httle 
else but regeneration. 

Whitefield Ordained. 127 

This was almost like preaching a new rehgion to the people, so 
little had they heard of a salvation which is God's free gift ; which 
begins by giving sinners new hearts, and which changes the motives, 
as well as the manner, of their lives. ISTo wonder, therefore, that the 
churches in which he preached were crowded almost to SB:ffocation, 
and that multitudes were obliged to go away for want of even stand- 
ing room, or a chance to look in at the doors or windows. At 
Gloucester, Bristol, and Bath in particular, he was overwhelmed with 
people, not only those who came to hsten to his wonderful sermons, 
but those who came to him for personal instruction ; while the 
" inquiry meetings " in those early beginnings of the Methodist revival 
were worthy patterns for those of our own time. 

The second sermon Whiteheld ever preached, and the first he ever 
published, was upon the text, " If any man be in Christ he is a new 
creature ; " in which he likens this mystery to the work wrought in the 
body of Naaman the leper. The regenerate man, or the man who is 
in Chi'ist, he says, is indeed the self-same man, but he has been 
" made anew." Another of his sermons was from the text, " Almost 
thou persuadest me to be a Christian," which, like many another 
discourse of his, was made to serve the double purpose of awakening 
sinners and drawing unprecedented sums of money from their purses 
for the treasury of the Lord. 

His charity sermon on the " Widow's Two Mites " would seem to 
have been rather a practical affair ; but Mr. "Whitefield speaks of it as 
other men speak of their most successful spiritual appeals, and says 
that under it " God bowed the hearts of the hearers as the heart of 
one man." After which we are prepared for his next sentence, 
" Almost all, as I was told by the collectors, offered most willingly." 
One of his notable sermons was upon " Early Piety ;" another, on the 
" Nature and Necessity of the New Birth ;" another, which he 
preached to the soldiers in the great cabin of his ship at Gibraltar en 
route to America, was on "The Eternity of Hell Torments;" but 
whether he were preaching of hell or heaven, of sin or salvation, for 
charity or otherwise, he kept his hearers continually face to face with 
the Scriptures, with the personal government of God, with the actual 
facts of eternal fife and death, and with the regenerating power of the 
Holy Spirit. 


Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

There is one word which, better than any otlier, describes White- 
field's preaching : — supernaturah 

In his day it was usual for preachers to measure the invisible by 
the visible, and attempt to discern spiritual truths by natural means. 
Not so with Whitefield. He dwelt among the divine realities which 
he found described in the word of God, and by hearing him relate his 
experience people began to take in the idea that salvation amounted to 
something ; that it was real and tangible ; not the unconscious effect of 
sacraments administered by the clergy, but a divine communication ; 
Christ in the soul, hell put under foot, and heaven actually begun. 


After sonie months he went up to London to see if his expedition 
were not ready to sail, and here, as in the provinces, he was set upon 
to preach charity sermons, some of the London churches being opened 
to him on account of his money-raising abilities, which would other- 
wise have been closed against him on account of his "extravagant" 
notions about tlie conversion of sinners. Two of the city clergy offered 
him the use of theii* pulpits if he would cut out certain parts of his 
sermon in which he t^'eated-of regeneration ; but, said the boy-parson, 
*' This 1 had no freedom to do, so they continued my opposers." 

Whitefield Oedalned. 129 

Unlike his teachers, the two Wesleys, Mr. Whitefield was on 
friendly terms with Dissenters, some of whom used to invite the young 
mini ster to their houses to commune with him on his favorite doctrine 
of regeneration. " If the doctrine of the new birth and justification 
by faith was preached powerfully in the Church," said they, " there 
would be but few Dissenters in England." 

Whitefield says he found their conversation "savory," and imag- 
ined the best way to " bring them over was not by bigotry and railing, 
but by moderation and love and undissembled holiness of life." But 
this did not at all suit the High-church clergy of the metropolis, one 
of whom called him a " pragmatical rascal," and denounced the whole 
body of Dissenters in savagely apostolic style ; that is to say, in the 
style of those half-fledged apostles who forbade the casting out of 
devils by one who did not belong to their own company. 

In spite of this, and, indeed, partly because of it, Whitefield's 
pojralarity increased till it became almost impossible for him to walk 
the London streets on account of the crowd that gathered about liim. 
He says : " I was constrained to go from place to place in a coach to 
avoid the hosannas of the multitude. They grew quite extravagant in 
their applause, and had it not been for my compassionate High-priest, 
popularity would have destroyed me. I used to plead with him to 
take me by the hand and lead me through this fiery furnace. He 
heard my request, and gave me to see the vanity of all commendations 
tut his own." 

A report was circulated by his jealous enemies that the Bishop of 
London, at the request of the clergy, was about to silence tliis young 
enthusiast ; but when he waited on that dignitary to inquire about it he 
found that no such sword was hanging over his head. Bishop Gibson 
was a man of sound judgment and real l^iety, whose great power and 
influence, both in Church and State, led his enemies to call him the 
" London Pope ; " and with this prelate on his side the young mis- 
sionary had nothing to fear at the hands of curates and rectors, who 
hated the new preaching because it showed them to be still in their 

Praying- Without a Book. — All this while Mr. Whitefield 
had tried to keep within the usages and traditions of the Establish- 
ment. He read prayers out of the Prayer Book in all public serv- 


130 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

ices ; but on one occasion, in a little meeting with some friends, his 
overburdened soul broke out of ritualistic bounds, and for the first time 
he attempted to pray extempore. " Some time, I think in October," 
says he, " we began to set apart an hour every evening to intercede 
with the great Head of the Church to carry on the work begun, and 
for the circle of our acquaintance, according as we knew their circum- 
stances required. I was mouth unto God, and he only knows what 
enlargement I felt in that divine employ. Once we spent the whole 
night in prayer and praise, and many a time at midnight, and at one 
in the morning, after I had been wearied almost to death in preaching, 
writing, and conversation, and going from place to place, God 
imparted new life to my soul, and enabled me to intercede with him 
for an hour and a half and two hours together. The sweetness of that 
exercise made me compose my sermon on ' Intercession.' " 

Whatt'tfield Ssials* foa' CJeorgia. — On the 6th of January,. 
173S, AVhiteliekl, having been duly appointed to the cure of souls in 
Savannah, and having persistently declined all the advantageous propo- 
sitions which loving friends and wealthy admirers could make to- 
detain liiiu, amid the tears and prayers of the multitudes, who literally 
blocked his path, went on board his ship at Gravesend and set his- 
face toward America. 

The Conversion of Charles Wesley. — -Among the 
Methodists of America it has always been regarded as a strange thing 
for a minister to come into the holy office without a new heart. God 
grant that it may always be so ! But the first form of Oxford Meth- 
odism was nothing but a desperate hutjiian effort after holiness, and 
n(jne of the Holy Club except Whitefield had thus far experienced 
that divine mystery, the new birth. 

During the most of this notable year, 1737, Charles "Wesley had 
been in England, working and worrying over Georgia affairs. 

The wretched state of mind in which at this time he was living 
will appear from the following extract from his Journal : — 

" January 22, 1737. I called upon Mrs. Pendarvis while she was. 
reading a letter of my being dead. Happy for me had the news been 
true ! "What a world of misery would it have saved me ! " 

During the month of February he was very ill, and while lying at 
death's door Peter Bohler, one of the Moravian missionaries who was 

The Wesleys Converted. 181 

in London waiting for a ship to Georgia, called upon liim, and, after 
prayer, said to him : — 

" Yon will not die now. Do you hope to be saved ? " 

" Yes," answered Charles Wesley. 

" For what reason do you hope it ? " 

" Because I have used my best endeavors to serve God." 

Bohler shook his head and said no more, at which Wesley thought 
him very uncharitable. "What!" he continues in his Journal, "are 
not my endeavors a sufficient ground of hope ? Would he rob me of 
my endeavors ? I have nothing else to trust to." * 

Here is another extract from liis Journal, which shows him still in 
the dark : — 

" April 25. Soon after five, as we were met in our little chapel, 
Mrs, Delamotte came to us. We sung, and fell into a dispute whetlier 
conversion were gradual or instantaneous. My brother John was 
very jiositive for the latter, and very shocking ; mentioned some late 
instances of gross sinners believing in a moment. I was much 
offended at his worse than unedifying discourse. Mrs. Delamotte left 
us abruptly. I stayed, and insisted that a man need not know when 
Urst he had faith. His obstinacy in favoring a contrary opinion 
drove me at last out of the room. Mr. Broughton [one of the Oxford 
Methodists] was only not so much scandalized as myself." 

Charles Wesley was neither the first nor the last to be scandalized 
by the " obstinacy " of wiser men than himself. It is rather " unedify- 
ing " to have one's prejudices overthrown by obstinate, uncomfortable 

Soon after this his illness increased upon him so that he had to be 
carried about in a chair ; but he still kept on with his " endeavors," 
and "used" a great deal of prayer for conversion. Besides his friend 
Peter Bolder, there was one Mr. Bray, a Smithiield brazier, an igno- 
rant man but a happy believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, to whose 
house he was carried, and who showed him tlie way of faith more 
perfectly, whereupon he began to cry out to God most earnestly, and 
to bee; that Clirist would come to him and save his soul. The follow- 
ing brief notes from his Journal set forth his progressive state of 
mind : — 

* Jackson's "Life of Charles Wesley," p. 110. 

132 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

'• May 13. I Avaked without Christ, yet still desirous of finding 
liini. At night my brotlier came, exceeding heavy. I forced him, as 
he had often forced ine, to sing a hymn to Christ, and almost thought 
He would come while we were singing." 

" May 14. Found much comfort in prayer and in the AVord. I 
longed to find Christ, that I might sliow him to all mankind. Several 
persons called to-day and were convinced of unbelief. Some of them 
afterward went to Mr. Broughton, and were soon made as easy as 
Satan and their own hearts could wish." 

" May 17. To-day I first saw ' Luther on the Galatians.' AVho 
would believe our Church had been founded upon this important 
article of justification by faith alone ! I am astonished I should ever 
think this a new doctrine. I spent some hours this evening in private 
with Martin Luther, who was greatly blessed to me. I labored, 
waited, and j^rayed to feel, ' Who loved me and gave himself for one ! ' 
When nature, near exhausted, forced me to bed, I opened the book 
upon ' For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness.' 
After this comfortable assurance that he would come and would not 
tarry, I slept in peace." 

The " opening of the book " was one of the customs of the Holy 
Club. They treated the Bible as a holy oracle to be consulted on all 
occasions, and for the settlement of all spiritual questions. The 
manner of doing it was by opening the book at random, and reading 
the first passage on which the eye happened to rest. This habit is 
frequently referred to in the Journals of the Wesleys, and sometimes 
in that of Whitefield. It was one of the "superstitious practices" 
alleged against them by their enemies, and often apologized for by 
their friends, though God seems at times to have greatly comforted 
them thereby. 

"Sunday, May 21, 1T38. The Day of Pentecost. I waked in 
hope and expectation of His coming. At nine my brother and some 
friends came, and sang a hymn to the Holy Ghost. My comfort and 
hope were hereby increased. In about half an hour they went. I 
betook myself to prayer, the substance as follows : " O Jesus, thou 
hast said, '/ will come unto you.'' Thou hast said, 'Z loill send the 
Comforter unto you.'' Thou hast said, ' My Father a/nd I will come 
unto yoii, <ind maJ^e our abode loith you.'' Thou art God, who canst 

The Wesleys Converted. 133 

not lie. I wholly rely upon thy most true promise. Accomplish it in 
thy time and manner." After this prayer, as he was composing him- 
self to sleep, one of his friends, moved by what he thought to be the 
direction of the Lord, came to the door of his room and recited these 
words in his hearing :— 

"In the name of Jesus or Nazareth, arise and believe, and 


" O that Christ would but speak thus to me ! I cried, feeling, at the 
same time, a strange palpitation of heart. I said, yet feared to say, ' I 
believe ! I believe ! ' " 

His friend and host, Mr. Bray, being sent for, came, and " opened 
the book " again at these words : " Blessed is the man whose trans- 
gression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." The two friends then 
prayed together, after which Wesley " opened the book " for himself ; 
first at the text, " And now, Lord, what is my hope ? Truly my hope 
is ever in thee ;" and next his eye caught these words, " He hath put 
a new song into my mouth, even praise unto our God." 

"I now," he continues, "found myself at peace with God, and 
rejoiced in hope of loving Christ. My temper for the rest of the day 
was mistrust of my own great, but before unknown, weakness. I saw 
that by faith I stood, and [that it was] the continual support of faith 
which kept me from falling. I went to bed still sensible of my own 
weakness, (I humbly hope to be more and more so,) yet confident of 
Christ's protection." 

Thus this Oxford scholar, this ordained clergyman, this " successor 
of the apostles," this " holy " man, was forced to lay down all trust in 
his own " endeavors," and to grope in the dark for the knowledge of 
that Gospel of which he was ah-eady an accredited teacher, and to learn, 
at last, through the teachings of an ignorant Smithfield brazier, and 
one of the poor women of his humble household, the way of being- 
saved through faith in Jesus Christ. The old fire of Pentecost was 
kindled anew in his soul on this anniversary of that glorious day. 
His body also, as well as his soul, was that day healed ; for John 
"Wesley writes : "I received the surprising news that my brother 
had found rest to his soul. His bodily strength returned, also, from 
that hour : " and then he piously adds, " Who is so great a God as 
our God?" 


Illustuatkd History of Methodism. 

The Coiivei>Boii of Rev. John Wesley. — John, the 

elder brother, was 
onlj four days be- 
hind the younger 
in entering the 
kingdom of God. 
For years he had 
possessed religion 
enough to make 
him miserable, as 
well as to enable 
him to make other 
peojjle so. He 
was the holiest 
man of the Holy 
Club ; but his 
Pharisaism had 
been already bro- 
ken down by what 
he had learned in 
America ; and he 
had reached the 
point of believing 
that there is such 
a work as regen- 
eration, wrought 
by the Holy Spir- 
it, and that this 

\v<jrk may be done instantly the moment a sinner believes on Jesus 
Christ M'ith all his heart. He confesses himself to have been greatly 
humbled, ami professes his desire for ''that faith which none can have 
without knowing that he hath it." From the Moravians in Georgia, 
and from the Moravian priest, Peter Bolder, in London, he had learned 
something of the righteousness which is by faith ; something of a spnse 
of pardon which gives constant peace, and something of a work of the 
Holy Ghost upon the soul which gives dominion over sin. At first 
he was surprised, and resisted these truths as the inventions of man, 

In which John VTeslp}- preached his first Sermon. 

The Wesleys Converted. 135 

but the faithful Peter Bohler ])lied him with texts of Scripture and 
facts of Christian experience till the master of logic was utterly driven 
from his former conclusions, and brought up face to face with his 
privilege and duty of immediate and conscious salvation, as the free 
gift of God. 

Why he should have been " surprised " to learn that his brother 
Charles had attained this experience it is difficult to imagine, unless 
there was, after all, a lurking doubt in his mind of the truth of the 
doctrine he had begun to defend. But here was another precious 
proof of its soundness ; now he was sure of his ground. He did not 
possess this saving faitli, but, according to the advice of his friend 
Peter, he began to preach it till he should have it, and then, because 
he had it, he could preach it all tlie more. 

About this time he wrote down some good resolutions with regard 
to his own behavior, and soon after wrote them over again, as if the 
iirst writing were not strong enough to hold. Here they are : — 

"1. To use absolute openness and unreserve with all I should 
<3onverse with. 

" 2. To labor after continued seriousness ; not willingly indulging 
myself in any the least levity of behavior, or in laughter — no, not for 
a moment. 

" 3. To speak no word which does not tend to the glory of God : in 
particular, not to talk of worldly things. Others may : nay, must. 
But what is that to thee ? and 

" 4. To take no pleasure whicli does not tend to the glory of God ; 
thanking God every moment for all I do take, and, therefore, rejecting 
every sort and degree of it which I feel I cannot thank him in and 

It is singular to note that while John Wesley was confessing his 
own want of saving faith he should be blessed of God in leading others 
into it; among the rest a condemned felon in Newgate, to whom he 
had at first refused to preach at all, on the ground that he bad no faith 
in death-bed repentance, and repentance by a man about to be hanged 
was very much after that sort. His unlooked-for success with this 
prisoner led him to dwell on the theme of conscious pardon of sin 
through faith in the Redeemer in the discourses which he preached 
in some of the London churches, but the word that was so blessed 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

to the criminal was rejected by tlie more fortunate sinners m'Iio made 
np "Wesley's London congregations, and, one after another, the doors of 
the London churches were closed against him. For instance, a few 
davs after his sermon in St. Ann's Church, on " Free Salvation by 
Faith in the Blood of Christ ; " he makes this entry in his Journal : — 

" I was quickly 

;ipprised that at St. v'"""-:^:^ 

Ann's, likewise, I 
am to preach no 
more. So true did 
I find the words of 
a friend, wrote to 
my brother about 
this time : ' I have 
seen upon this oc- 
casion, more than 
ever I could have 
imagined, how in- 
tolerable the doc- 
trine of is to 
the mind of man ; 
and how peculiarly 
intolerable to relig- 
ious men.' " 

The " turnino- 


point " of John Wesley's experience is of such vital importance, not 
only to him, but to the whole history of the great revival of religion 
of which he was, under God, the chief promoter, that it is worthy 
the careful study of all who may open this volume ; his own account 
of it is, therefore, transferred to these pages almost entire : — 

" What occurred on Wednesday, 24, I think best to relate at large, 
after premising what may make it the better understood. 

" I believe till I was about ten years old I had not sinned away 
that ' Avashing of the Holy Ghost ' which was given me in baptism ; 
having been strictly educated and carefully taught that I could only 
be saved " by universal obedience, by keeping all the commandments 
of God ; " in the meaning of which I was diligently instructed. And 

The Wesleys Cotcverted. 137 

tliose instructions, so far as they respected outward duties and sins, I 
gladly received, and often thought of. But all that was said to me of 
inward obedience, or holiness, I neither understood nor remembered. 
So that I was indeed as ignorant of the true meaning of the Law as I 
was of the Gospel of Christ. 

" The next six or seven years were spent at scliool ; where, outward 
restraints being removed, I was much more negligent than before, 
even of outward duties, and almost continually guilty of outward sins, 
which I knew to be such, thougli they were not scandalous in the eye 
of the world. However, I still read the Scriptures, and said my 
prayers, morning and evening. And what I now hoped to be saved 
by was, 1. Xot being so bad as other people. 2. Having still a kind- 
ness for religion. And, 3. Eeading the Bible, going to church, and 
saying my prayers. 

" Being removed to the University for live years, I still said my 
prayers both in public and in private, and read, with the Scriptures, 
several other books of religion, especially comments on the IS'ew 
Testament. Yet I had not all this while so much as a notion of 
inward holiness; nay, went on habitually, and for the most part very, 
contentedly, in some or other known sin : indeed, with some intermis- 
sion and short struggles, especially before and after the Holy Commun- 
ion, which I was obliged to receive thrice a year. I cannot well tell 
what I hoped to be saved by now, when I was continually sinning 
against that little light I had, unless by those transient fits of what 
many divines taught me to call repentance. 

" "WTien I was about twenty-two my father pressed me to enter into 
holy orders. At the same time the j)rovidence of God directing me 
to Kempis's 'Christian Pattern,' I began to see that true religion 
was seated in the heart, and that God's law extended to all our 
thoughts as well as words and actions. I was, however, very angry at 
Ivempis for being too strict ; though I read him only in Dean Stan- 
hope's translation. Yet I had frequently much sensible comfort in 
reading him, such as I was an utter stranger to before : and meeting 
likewise with a religious friend, which I never had till now, I began 
to alter the whole form of my conversation, and to set in earnest upon 
a new life. I set apart an hour or two a day for religious retirement. 
I communicated every week. I watched against all sin. whether in 

138 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

word or deed. I began to aim at, and pray for, inward holiness. So 
that now, ' doing so much, and living so good a life,' I doubted not 
but I was a good Christian. 

'• Kemoving soon after to anotlier college, I executed a resolution 
which I was before convinced was of the utmost importance — shaking 
off at once all my trifling acquaintance. I began to see more and 
more the value of time. I applied myself closer to study. I watched 
more carefully against actual sins ; I advised others to be religious 
according to that scheme of religion by whicli I modeled my own 
life. But meeting now with Mr. Law's 'Christian Perfection' and 
* Serious Call,' although I was much offended at many parts of both, 
yet they convinced me more than ever of the exceeding height and 
breadth and deptli of tlie lavr of God. The light flowed in so mightily 
upon my soul that every thing appeared in a new view. I cried to 
God for lielp, and resolved not to prolong the time of obeying him, as 
I liad never done; before. And by my continued endeavor to keep 
Lis wliole law, inward and outward, to the utmost of my power, I was 
persuaded that I should be accepted of him. and that I was even then 
in a state of salvation. 

'' In 1730 I began visiting the prisons ; assisting the poor and sick 
in town ; and doing what other good I could, by my presence or my 
little fortune, to the bodies and souls of all men. To this end I 
abridged myself of all superfluities, and many that are called necessa- 
ries of life. I soon became a by-word for so doing, and I rejoiced 
that my name was cast out as evil. The next spring I began observing 
the Wednesday and Friday fasts, commonly o])served in the ancient 
Church ; tasting no food till three in the afternoon. And now I 
knew not how to go any further, I diligently strove against all sin. 
I omitted no sort of self-denial which I thought lawful : I carefully 
used, both in public and in private, all the means of grace at all 
opportunities. I omitted no occasion of doing good ; I for that 
reason suffered evil. And all this I knew to be nothing, unless as it 
was directed toward inward holiness. Accordingly this, the image of 
God, was what I aimed at in all, by doing his will, not my own. Yet 
when, after continuing some years in this course, I apprehended 
myself to be near death, I could not find that all this gave me any 
comfort, or any assurance of acceptance with God. At this I was 

The Wesleys Convekted. 139 

then not a little surj^rised ; not imagining I had been all this time 
building on the sand, nor considering that ' other foundation can no 
man lay than that which is laid ' by God, ' even Christ Jesus.' 

" In this refined way of trusting to my own works and my own 
righteousness, (so zealously inculcated by the mystic writers,) I 
dragged on heavily, finding no comfort or help therein, till the time 
of my leaving England. On shipboard, however, I was again active 
in outward works ; where it pleased God of his free mercy to give me 
twenty-six of the Moravian brethren for companions, who endeavored 
to show me ' a more excellent way.' But I understood it not at first. 
I was too learned and too wise. So that it seemed foolishness unto 
me. And I continued preaching, and following after, and trusting in, 
that righteousness whereby no flesh can be justified. 

" All the time I was at Savannah I was thus beating the air. 
Being ignorant of the righteousness of Christ, which, by a living faith 
in him, bringeth salvation ' to every one that believeth,' I sought to 
establish my own righteousness ; and so labored in the fire all my 
days. I was now properly ' under the law ;' I knew that ' the law ' 
of God was ' spiritual ; I consented to it, that it was good.' Yea, ' 1 
delighted in it, after the inner man.' Yet was I ' carnal, sold under 
sin.' Every day was I constrained to cry out, ' What I do, I allow 
not : for what I would, I do not ; but what I hate that I do. To will 
is ' indeed ' present with me ; but how to perform that which is 
good, I find not. Eor the good which I woulcf^ I do not ; but the evil 
which I would not, that I do. I find a law, that when I would do 
good, evil is present with me ; ' even ' the law in my members, 
warring against the law of my mind,' and still ' bringing me into 
captivity to the law of sin.' 

" In this vile, abject state of bondage to sin I was indeed fighting 
continually, but not conquering. Before, I had willingly served sin ; 
now it was unwillingly ; but still I served it. I fell, and rose, and fell 
again. Sometimes I was overcome, and in heaviness; sometimes I 
overcame, and was in joy. For as in the former state I had some 
foretastes of the terrors of the law, so had I in this, of the comforts of 
the Gospel. During this whole struggle between nature and grace, 
which had now continued above ten years, I had many remarkable 
returns to prayer ; especially when I was in trouble : I had many 

140 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

sensible comforts ; wliich are indeed no other than short anticipations 
of the life of faith. But I was still ' under the law,' not ' under 
grace ;' (the state most who are called Christians are content to 
live and die in :) for I was only striving with, not freed from, sin ; 
neither had I the witness of the Spirit with my spirit, and could not ; 
for I ' sought ' it not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the 

" In my return to England, January, 1T38, being in imminent 
danger of death, and very uneasy on that account, I was strongly 
convinced that the cause of that uneasiness was unbelief ; and that the 
gaining a true, living faith was the ' one thing needful ' for me. 
But still I fixed not this faith on its right object ; I meant only faith 
in God, not faith in or through Christ. Again, I knew not that I 
was wholly void of this faith ; but only thought I had not enough of 
it. So that when Peter Buhler, whom God prepared for me as soon 
as I came to London, affirmed of true faith in Christ, (which is but 
one,) that it had those two fruits inseparably attending it, ' dominion 
over sin, and constant peace from a sense of forgiveness,' I was quite 
amazed, and looked upon it as a new gospel. If this was so, it was 
clear I had not faith. But I was not willing to be convinced of this. 
Therefore I disputed with all my might, and labored to prove that 
faith might be where these v\-ere not; especially wliere the sense of 
forgiveness was not : for all the Scriptures relating to this I had been 
long since taught to c^strue away, and to call all Presbyterians who 
spoke otherwise. Besides, I well saw, no one could, in the nature of 
things, have such a sense of forgiveness, and not /"eel it. But I felt it 
not. If then there was no faitli without this, all my pretensions ta 
faith dropped at once. 

" When I met Peter Bohler again he consented to put the dispute 
upon the issue which I desired, namely, Seri2)ture and experience. I 
Srst consulted the Scripture. But when I set aside the glosses of 
men, and simply considered the words of God, comparing them 
together, endeavoring to illustrate the obscure by the plainer passages ; 
I found they all made against me, and was forced to retreat to my last 
hold, ' that experience would never agree with the literal interpt^eta- 
tion of those Scriptures. Nor could I therefore allow it to be true,, 
till I found some living witnesses of it.' He replied, he could show 

The "Wesleys Conveeted. 141 

me such at any time ; if I desired it, the next day. And accordingly 
the next day he came again with three others, all of whom testified, of 
their own personal exj)eriencc, that a true living faith in Christ is 
insejDarable from a sense of pardon for all past, and freedom from all 
present, sins. They added with one mouth tliat this faith was the 
gift, the free gift, of God ; and that he would surely bestow it upon 
every soul who earnestly and perseveringly sought it. I was now 
thoroughly convinced ; and by the grace of God I resolved to seek it 
unto the end : 1. By absolutely renouncing all crjpendence, in whole 
or in part, upon nmj own works or righteousness, on which I had 
really grounded my hope of salvation, though I knew it not, from my 
youth up. 2. By adding to the constant use of all the other means of 
grace continual prayer for this very thing, justifying saving faith, a 
full reliance on the blood of Christ shed for me / a trust in him as mij 
Christ, as imj sole justification, sanctification, and redemption. 

" I continued thus to seek it (though with strange indifference, 
dullness, and coldness, and unusually frequent relapses into sin) till 
Wednesday, May 24. I think it was about five this morning that I 
opened my Testament on those words, ' There are given unto us 
exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be par- 
takers of the divine nature.' 2 Pet. i, 4. Just as I went out I 
opened it again on those words, ' Thou art not far from the kingdom 
of God.' In the afternoon I was asked to go to St. Paul's. The 
anthem was, ' Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord : 
Lord, hear my voice ; O let thine ears consider well the voice of my 
complaint. If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done 
amiss, O Lord, who may abide it % For there is mercy with thee ; 
therefore shalt thou be feared. O Israel, trust in the Lord : for with 
the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And 
he shall redeem Israel from all his sins.' 

" In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate- 
street, where one was reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the 
Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the 
change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt 
my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, 
for salvation : and an assurance was given me that he had taken away 
7i%y sins, even 'rnine^ and saved me from the law of sin and death. 

142 Illustrated Histoky of Methodism. 

" I began to pray \vitli all my miglit for those who had, in a more 
especial manner, despitefuUy used me and persecuted me. I then 
testified openly to all there, what I now first felt in my heart. But it 
was not long before the enemy suggested, ' This cannot be faith ; for 
where is thy joy ? ' Then was I taught that peace, and victory over 
sin, are essential to faith in the Captain of our salvation ; but that, as 
to the transports of joy that usually attend the beginning of it, 
especially in those who have mourned deeply, God sometimes giveth, 
sometimes withholdeth them, according to the counsels of his own 

" After my return home I was much buffeted with temptations ; 
l)ut cried out, and they fled away. They returned again and again. 
I as often hfted up my eyes, and He ' sent me help from his holy 
place.' And herein I found the difference between this and my 
former state chiefly consisted. I was striving, yea, fighting with all 
my might under the law, as well as under grace. But then I was 
sometimes, if not often, conquered ; now, I was always conqueror. 

" Thursday, 25. The moment I awaked, ' Jesus, Master,' was in 
my heart and in my mouth ; and I found all my strength lay in 
keeping my eye fixed upon him, and my soul waiting on him con- 
tinually. Being again at St. Paul's in the afternoon, I could taste the 
good word of God in the anthem, which began, 'My song shall be 
always of the loving-kindness of the Lord : with my mouth will I ever 
be showing forth thy truth from one generation to another.' Yet the 
enemy injected a fear, ' If thou dost believe, why is there not a moi'e 
sensible change ? ' I answered, (yet not I,) ' That I know not. But 
this I know, I have "now peace with God," and I sin not to-day, 
and Jesus iny Master has forl)id me to take thought for the morrow.' " 

\%"esSey nt Ilerrillillt. — In nothing is the grace of God more 
manifest than in changing John Wesley, the recent lligh-churcli bigot, 
into a docile, teachable inquirer after the trnth. It was hard for this 
learned priest to become a "little child," but all things are possible 
with God. 

Being now converted and saved, one of his first steps was to seek 
further instruction in the things of God from the Moravian brethren, 
whose chief settlement was tlio famous little community of Ilerrnhut,* 

* Wiitch Hill. 

The Wesleys Converted. 


in Upper Lusatia, near the borders of Bohemia. This settlement was 
made by a company of Lutheran converts, who were compelled to fly 
for their lives before the soldiers of the Pope and the devil, in 
Moravia, and who were afforded an asylum in Saxony, and a home on 


the estates of Nickolas Ludwig, Count of Zinzendorf. This noble- 
man, who was also a Saxon bishop, was not only the patron of this 
band of exiles, but was otherwise largely devoted to works of charity 

144 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

and religion. He maintained an orphanage near his castle at Marien- 
born, and he afterward claimed that from his own estates he had sent 
out three hundred preachers of the Gospel into all parts of the world. 
This was the origin of that body of Christians now known as the 
United Brethren. 

In the company of these devout belieyers, who, in spite of Pa- 
pal persecutions and Protestant backsliding were still holding up the 
evangelical doctrines of the Lutheran Reformation, "Weslej found great 
delight and no little sound instruction ; especially in the sermons of 
the pastor of this flock, Christian David, and in the personal testimo- 
nies given at their social meetings. One after another these simple- 
minded men, wise only in the word of God, would declare what he 
had done for their souls, and bv the substantial agreement of their 
experiences with his own TTesley was comforted and confirmed. 

The determination of Wesley to go to the very depths of this 
matter of experimental religion, and his absolute abandonment of 
himself for that purpose, appears in an incident related of him during 
the few weeks' visit above mentioned. Like the ]\Ioravians them- 
selves, he submitted to be governed by the Count and Bishop Zinzen- 
dorf, as well as to be instructed by the godly pastor Christian David, 
and the Count, with a view of testing his reverend pupil for spiritual 
pride, and to mortify it if any should be found, sent AYesley into the 
fields to dig like a common laborer. lie meekly obeyed. After he 
had been at this work for awhile the Count came out and directed him 
to take his place in his carriage, as he was going to call upon a neigh- 
boring nobleman. 

" Pray allow me to make my toilet," said "Wesley. 

" By no means," answered the Count ; " it will help to mortify 
your spiritual pride to go as you are." And there was nothing to do 
but submit. 

Xo wonder that Wesley, on his return from Herrnhut, was troubled 
with doubts about some of the fashions which prevailed even in that 
primitive community of Christian believers ; though, on the whole, 
he says he would have been glad to spend his life among them. 

During this al)sence in Germany his brother Charles was making 
liimseK very useful among the prisoners, and among the poor of 
London, as well as at the meetings of the societies. His Journal 

The Wesleys Converted. 145 

abounds with cases of conversion, as if, having himself been born of 
God, he could hardly think of any other theme than regeneration by 
the Holy Gliost. 

His eldest brother, the Rev. Samuel Wesley, was greatly offended 
at such doctrine, and opposed it with all his might. To him it 
appeared absurd that a baptized and confirmed member of the Angli- 
can communion, and a regularly ordained successor of the apostles 
withal, should state that he was not a Christian until after he had been 
"born again." Some of the "Wesley sisters, however, sympathized 
with their " enthusiastic " brothers. John and Charles. In September 
his sister "Ivezzy," as he calls her, a member of the Established 
Church iu full communion, came to him and begged him with tears to 
pray for her ; saying that she believed there was a depth of religion 
slie had not yet fathomed, and " that she was not, but longed to be, 

Concerning this interview her brother Charles says : '" I used 
Pascal's prayer for conversion over her." He evidently had not yet 
learned to pray without a book. His elder brother, John, had now 
over-passed this ceremonial stage of religion, as appears from the 
following entry in his Journal, in April, 1739 : " Being at Mr. Fox's 
Society, my heart was so full that I could not confine myseK to the 
forms of prayer which we were accustomed to use there. Neither do 
I purpose to be confined to them any more." 

Mrs. Wesley's Conversion. — The mother of the "Wesleys, 
having heard her son Samuel's account of what he regarded as the 
absurdities of his brethren, wrote a letter to them in which she took 
them to task for the wild extravagances that followed their preach- 
ing ; but later on, being made personally acquainted with the progress 
of the work of God under their hands, she changed her criticisms for 
commendations, and afterward herself entered into the same blessed 
experience of saving grace. 

The following, from John Wesley's Journal, under date of Sept. 3, 
1T39, shows how defective were even the most evangelical teacliings 
oi the lYth and 18th centuries on the subject of experimental 
religion : — 

" Monday, Sept. 3. — I talked largely with my mother, who told me 
that till a short time since she had scarce heard such a thing men- 


Illusteated Histoky of Methodism:. 

tioned as the having forgiveness of sins now, or God's Spirit bearing 
"wdtness with our spirit : much less did she imagine that this was the 
common privilege of all time believers. ' Therefore,' said she, ' I 
never durst ask for it myself. But two or three weeks ago, while mj 
son, Hall, was pronouncing those words, in delivering the cup to me, 
'* The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee," the 
words stnick through my heart, and I knew God for Christ's sake had 
forgiven me all ray sins.' 

" I asked whether her father (Dr. Annesley) had not the same faith, 
and whether she had not heard liim preach it to others. She answered 
he had it himseK ; and declared, a little before his death, that for more 
than forty years he had no darkness, no fear, no doubt at all of his 
being 'accepted in the Beloved.' But that, nevertheless, she did not 
remember to have heard him preach, no, not once, explicitly upon it : 
whence she supjDosed he also looked upon it as the peculiar blessing of 
a few ; not as promised to all the people of God." 

Several of the dauo^hters are also mentioned in the Journal as beins: 
happily converted : and at last Samuel himself, shortly before his 
death, which occurred Xovember 6, 1739, just as the Methodist 
revival was getting fairly under way, emerged from his cave of tradi- 
tional darkness into the li^ht of conscious salvation. 





Prison Miiiiglry.— Tlio churclies being closed against them, 
the "Wesle^ys were glad to gain an audience in the prisons. Both the 
brothers -were often found in the cells of the men about to die, and to 
them it was an especial cause of joy to find that Christ was " able to 
save unto the uttermost" all who came unto God by him, though in 
their more promiscuous prison services they must have sometimes 
been almost at their wits' end what to do with their rough and vicious 

Here are some extracts from the Journal of Charles Wesley, relar- 
in;; to this sorrowful but successful miuistry : — 

" July 12th. I jjreached at Xewgate to the condemned felons, and 
visited one of them in his cell, sick of a fever: a poor black, that had 
robbed his master. I told him of One who came down from heaven 
to save lost sinners, and him in particular ; described the sufferings of 
the Son of God, his son-ows, agony, and death. He listened with all 
the signs of eager astonishment. The tears trickled down his cheeks 
while he cried, ' What ! was it for me ? ' " 

The Gospel in Word and in Power. 


" July 15th. Rejoiced with my poor, happy black, now believing 
the Son of God loved him and gave himself for him." 

" Jnly ISth. At night I was locked in with Bray, in one of the 
cells. "We wrestled in mighty prayer. All the criminals were present, 
and all delightfnlly cheerful. Joy was visible in all their faces." 

" July 19tli. By half past ten we came to Tyburn, Then were 
brought the children appointed to die. We had prayed before that 
our Lord would show there was a power superior to the fear of death. 
They were all cheerful, full of comfort, peace, and triumph, assuredly 
persuaded Christ had died for them, and waited to receive them into 


])aradise. None showed any natural terror of death : no fear, or 
crying, or tears. I never saw such calm triumph, such incredible 
indifference to dying. ... I could do nothing but rejoice : kissed 
Hudson and Newington : took leave of each in particular. Exactly at 
twelve they were turned off. When the cart drew off not one stirred 
or struggled for life, but meekly gave up their spirits. That hour 
under the gallows was the most blessed hour of my life." 

The notion of condemned felons going to paradise by way of New- 
gate and Tyburn was not at all agreeable to the high notions of the 

150 Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

London clergy. Their idea of religion was more respectable : salva- 
tion was for well-bred people, who went regularly to Church. It does 
not seem to have entered their minds but that Jesus Christ came to 
call the righteous, or that the first trophy of his victory over death 
and hell was a condemned felon Avho was executed by his side. 
If a sinner were to be saved by his respectability, tlie communion of 
the Established Church was an excellent place for the jDrocess : but 
the "Wesleys and Whitefield declared that salvation was by faith alone ; 
whereby the high j^rivileges of wealth, education, and station, as well 
as the higli prerogatives of the clergy, who claimed the monopoly of 
sacramental grace, were all ignored and trampled on. It was too 
common, too easy, too low : any body might be a Christian and go to 
paradise on such terms ; and what then would become of the Estab- 
lished religion and the apostolic clergy ? jSTo wonder these Methodists 
were shut out of the churches ; yet this worked together for good, 
since it was through this dark passage that God brought them out 
into broader, clearer light, and, under the blue dome of his own cathe- 
dral, set them preaching to thousands upon thousands in the open fields. 

Societies Sliid IilsiBad!*. — It will be remembered that Mrs. 
Wesley named her assembly at the Epworth rectory a " Society : " a 
name that has held a prominent place in Methodist history, and 
which is still in use by British Wesleyans to designate an organized 
congregation, which they modestly refrain from calling a " Church." 

It was also at the meetings of what the Moravians called " Socie- 
ties " that Wesley caught the idea of using the testimony of converted 
persons concerning their experience of salvation, to suj)ply, in some 
measure, the lack of service on the part of the ministry. There were 
but very few clergy in England who could take care of a comjxmy of 
young converts, or carry on the work of bringing others to a saving 
knowledge of Christ : and as the revival of spiritual I'eligion began to 
spread, it became necessary to set these little companies thus to take 
care of, and edify, one another, while the Moravian " Societies " in 
London afforded him and his friends that religious fellowship which 
he could not find in his own comnmnion on account of his " extrava- 
gance " and " enthusiasm." 

Those little confidential companies of Moravians at Herrnhut, who 
Ufied to meet every week and turn their hearts inside out, in order to 

The Gospel in Word aistd iisr Power. 151 

receive counsel from, or give encouragement to, their brethren, greatly- 
interested him, and for some time after his return from Germany he 
appears as a leader in the " Societies " at Fetter Lane, Bear Yard, 
Gutter Lane, and at the Society in Aldersgate-street, so memorable as 
the place of his conversion. 

"What were these Societies ? 

Some of them Avere companies of United Brethren, gathered by 
the Moravian missionaries ; others were the remnants of certain 
rehgious assemblies of people belonging to the Established Church 
which had been organized during a notable revival in London in 1699. 
It may have been from these London Societies that Mrs. Wesley 
borrowed the name of her meeting in the Ej^worth rectory. 

One of these " Societies '' was organized by the Wesleys them- 
selves before the visit of John to Heri*nhut, and so great was its 
success that it was able to erect a chapel in Fetter Lane, London, from 
which it was called the Fetter Lane Society. This continued to be 
the head-quarters of the Methodist movement until Wesley's secession 
therefrom, as will presently appear. The following extract from 
Wesley's Journal will indicate the nature and purpose of these " So- 
cieties," and also of the smaller " bands " into which the Society was 
divided : — 

In obedience to the command of God by St. James, and by the advice of 
Peter Bohler, it is agreed by us, 

1. Tliat we will meet together once a week to "confess our faults one to 
another, and pray one for another, that we may be healed." 

2. That the persons so meeting-be divided into several hands, or little com- 
panies, none of them consisting of fewer than five, or more than ten, persons. 

3. That every one in order speak as freely, plainly, and concisely as he 
can, tlie real state of his heart, with his several temptations and deliverances, 
since tlje last time of meeting. 

4. That all the bands have a conference at eight every Wednesday evening, 
begun and ended with singing and prayer. 

5. That any who desire to be admitted into this Society be asked, "What 
are your reasons for desiring this? Will you be entirely open, using no kind 
of reserve ? Have yon any objection to any of our orders ? " (which may then 
be read.) 

6. That when any new member is proposed, every one present speak clearly 
and freely whatever objection he has to him. 

7. That those against whom no reasonable objection appears be, in order for 

152 Illustkated History of Methodism. 

their trial, formed into one or more distinct bands, and some person agreed on 
to assist them. 

8. Tliat after two months' trial, if no objection then appear, they may be 
admitted into the Society. 

9. That every fourth Saturday be observed as a day of general intercession. 

10. That on the Sunday seven-night following be a general love-feast, from 
seven till ten in the evening. 

11. That no particular member be allowed to act in any thing contrary to 
any order of the Society : and that if any per.sons, after being thrice admonished, 
do not conform thereto, they be not any longer esteemed as members. 

There were " Societies " of this kind in Bristol and elsewhere, and 
it was in connection with the Bristol Societies that the Methodist 
revival began in that portion of the kingdom. 

W'liitelielcl's Return from America. — Xear the end of 
the vear 173S AVhitefield and AVesley's old friend and pnpil, Dela- 
motte, returned from Georgia. As yet Mr. Whitefield had only 
taken deacon's orders, and must needs return to England to be ordained 
a priest : besides, he was desirous of establishing an orphanage at 
Savannah, after the manner of the famous institution of Professor 
Francke, in Gennany, and for this he must resume his course of 
charity sermons among his English friends and admirers. But he 
found the churches were closed against hipi, as well as against his 
friends, the Wesleys, and he was glad to be received by the " Soci- 
eties," which, under their labors, were fast becoming a power in the 
British capital. 

Po^ver Aeeomiiaiiie!>» the AVord. — It sometimes appears 
to be the purpose of God to break into the minds and consciences of 
men with signs and wonders, when they refuse admittance to his 
Gospel in any other way. These signs and wonders are so many 
exclamation points to catch the eye of heedless sinners. The attention 
of the eye is more quickly caught than that of the ear ; people will go 
by thousands to see a prodigy, who would not be called out by the 
simple preaching of the Gospel ; thus, through their curiosity, God 
makes a way into their minds for his truth, and thereby his kingdom 
is extended. Miracles and marvels are thus doubly useful, first as 
testimony to the truth of the word which they accompany, and 
second, as a strong attraction to bring the multitude within the circle 
of its power. 

The Gospel in Word and in Power, 


The strange scenes which often accompanied the early services of 
the Methodists in England are plentifully mentioned in Mr. Wesley's 
Journal. He claims them as evidence that God is with him, and 
defends himself from the storm of abuse which he encountered on 
account of them by boldly declaring their supernatural or subter- 
natnral character. The Lord and the devil, he was quite sure, both 


took these striking methods of showing their interest in the Methodist 
revival. But let Wesley himself speak : — 

"Thursday, l^ov. 25, 1738. While I was preaching at Newgate 
on these words, 'He that believeth hath everlasting life,' I was 
insensibly led, without any previous design, to declare strongly and 
explicitly that God willeth ' all men to be ' thus ' saved ; ' and to pray 
that, ' if this were not the truth of God, he would not suffer the blind 
to go out of the way ; but, if it were, he would bear witness to his 
word.' Immediately one, and another, and another, sunk to the 

154 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

earth : tliey dropped on every side as thunderstruck. One of them 
cried aloud. "We besought God in her behalf, and he turned her 
lieaviness into joy. A second being in the same agony, we called 
upon God for her also ; and he spoke peace imto her soul. In the 
evening I "vvas again pressed in spirit to declare that ' Christ gave 
himself a ransom for all.' And almost before Ave called upon him to 
set to his seal, he answered. One was so wounded by the sword of 
the Spirit that you would have imagined she could not live a moment. 
But immediately his abundant kindness was showed, and she loudly 
sung of his righteousness." 

" Friday, 26. All i^ewgate rang with the cries of those whom the 
word of God cut to the heart. Two of whom were in a moment filled 
with joy, to the astonishment of those that beheld them." 

Again he writes : " While I was declaring that Jesus Christ had 
^ given himself a ransom for all,' three persons, ahnost at once, sunk 
doAATi as dead, having all their sins set in array before them. But 
in a short time they were raised up, and knew that 'the Lamb of 
God who taketh away the sin of the world ' had taken away their sins." 

Still again : " One avIio had been a zealous opposer of ' this way ' 
sent and desired to speak with me immediately. He had all the signs 
of settled despair both in his countenance and behavior. He said he 
had been enslaved to sin many years, especially to drunkenness ; that 
he had long used all the means of grace, had constantly gone to 
church and sacrament, had read the Scripture, and used much private 
prayer, and yet was nothing profited. I desired we might join in 
prayer. After a short space he rose, and his countenance was no 
longer sad. He said, ' 'Now I know God loveth 7ne, and has forgiven 
^ny sins. And sin shall not have dominion over me ; for Christ hath 
set me free.' And according to his faith it was unto him." 

" April 17, 1739. At Baldwin-street [one of the Societies in Bris- 
tol] we called upon God to confirm his word. Innnediately, one that 
stood by cried out aloud, with the utmost vehemence, even as in the 
agonies of death. But we continued in ^^rayer till a new song was 
put into her mouth, a thanksgiving unto our God. Soon after, two 
other persons were seized with strong pain, and constrained to roar for 
the disquietude of their heart. But it was not long before they like- 
wise burst forth into praise to God their Saviour. The last who 

The Gospel iis" Word and en" Power. 155 

called upon God, as out of the belly of liell, was a stranger in Bristol ; 
and in a short space he also was overwhelmed with joy and love, 
knowing that God had healed his backslidings." 

" April 21. At TTeavers' Hall, [another Bristol ' Society,'] a young 
man was suddenly seized with a violent trembling all over, and in a 
few minutes sunk to the ground. But we ceased not calling ujDon 
God till he raised him up full of peace and joy in the Holy 

" April 21. At Baldwin-street a young man, after a sharp though 
short agony, both of body and mind, found his soul filled with ]3eace, 
knowing in whom he had beheved." 

" I did not mention J n H n, a weaver, who M'as at Bald- 
win-street the night before. He was (I understood) a man of a 
regular life and conversation, one that constantly attended the public 
prayers and sacrament, and was zealous for the Church, and against 
Dissenters of every denomination. Being informed that people fell 
into strange fits at the Societies, he came to see and judge for liimseK. 
But he was less satisfied than before ; insomuch that he went about to 
his acquaintance, one after another, till one in the morning, and 
labored above measure to convince them it was a delusion of the 
devil. We were going home, when one met us in the street, and 

informed us that J n H n was fallen raving mad. It seems he 

had sat down to dinner, but had a mind first to end a sermon he had 
borrowed on ' Salvation by Faith.' In reading the last page he 
changed color, fell oft" his chair, and began screaming terribly, and 
beating himself against the ground. The neighbors were alarmed, 
and flocked together to the house. Between one and two I came in, 
and found him on the floor, the room being full of people, whom his 
wife would have kept without, but he cried aloud, ' Xo, let tliem all 
come ; let all the world see the just judgment of God.' Two or three 
men were holding him as well as they could. He immediately fixed 
his eyes upon me^ and, stretching out his hand, cried, ' Ay, this is he 
who I said was a deceiver of the people. But God has overtaken me. 
I said. It was all a delusion, but this is no dehision.' He then roared 
out, ' O thou devil I Thou cursed devil 1 Yea, thou legion of devils I 
Thou canst not stay. Christ will cast thee out. I know his work is 
begun. Tear me to pieces if thou wilt ; but thou canst not hurt me.' 

156 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

He then beat himself against the ground again ; his breast heaving at 
the same time as in the pangs of death, and great drops of sweat 
trickling down his face. We all betook ourselves to prayer. His 
pangs ceased, and both his body and soul were set at liberty." 

Sundav, May 20. " A young man sunk down as one dead ; but soon 
began to roar out, and beat himself against the ground, so that six 
men could scarcely hold him. His name was Thomas Maxfield. Ex- 
cept J n H n, I never saw one so torn of the e^^l one. Mean- 
while many others began to cry out to the ' Saviour of all ' that he 
would come and help them, insomuch that all the house (and indeed 
all the street for some space) was in an uproar. But we continued in 
praver ; and before ten the greater part found rest to their souls." 

*• I was called from supper to one who, feeling in herseK such a 
conviction as she had never known before, had run out of the Society 
in all haste that she might not expose herself. But the hand of God 
followed her still ; so that after going a few stejjs she was forced to 
be carried home ; and when she was there, grew worse and worse. 
She was in a violent agony when we came. We called upon God, 
and her soul found rest. About twelve I was greatly importuned to 
go and visit one person more. She had only one struggle after I 
came, and was then filled with peace and joy. I think twenty-nine 
in all had their heaviness tm-ned into joy this day." 

"' Friday, October 2S. I met with a fresh proof that ' whatsoever 
ye ask, believing, ye shall receive.' A middle-aged woman desired me 
to return thanks for her to God, who, as many witnesses then present 
testified, was a day or two before really distracted, and as such tied 
down in her bed. But upon prayer made for her, she was instantly 
relieved, and restored to a sound mind." 

In another place he says : " I began reading prayers, and preaching, 
in Gloucester-green "Workhouse ; and on Thui'Eday, in that belonging 
to St. Thomas's parish. On both days I preached at the castle. At 
St. Thomas's was a young woman, raving mad, screaming and tor- 
menting herself continually. I had a strong desire to speak to her. 
The moment I began she was still. The tears ran down her cheeks 
all the time I was teUing her ' Jesus of jSTazareth is able and willing to 
deliver you.' O where is faith upon earth? Why are these poor 
wi-etches left under the open bondage of Satan? Jesus, Master 1 

The Gospel in Woed and in Power. 157 

Give tlion medicine to lieal their sickness ; and deliver tliose who are 
now also vexed with unclean spirits ! " 

" Tuesday, Oct. 23, 1739. At eleven I preached at Bearlield to about 
three thousand, on nature, bondage, and adoption. Keturning in tlie 
evening, I was exceedingly pressed to go back to a young woman in 
Kingswood. (The fact I nakedly relate, and leave every man to his 
own judgment of it.) I went. She was nineteen or twenty ye;u-s 
old ; but, it seems, could not write or read. I found her on the bed, 
two or three persons holding her. It was a terrible sight. Anguish, 
horror, and despair, above all description, appeared in her pale face. 
The thousand distortions of her whole body showed how the dogs of 
hell were gnawing her heart. The shrieks intermixed were scarce to 
be endured. But her stony eyes could not weep. She screamed out, 
as soon as words could find their way, ' I am damned, damned ; lost 
forever. Six days ago you might have helped me. But it is past. I 
am the devil's now. I have given myself to him. His I am. Him I 
must serve. With him I must go to hell. I cannot be saved. I will 
not be saved. I must, I will, I will be damned.' She then began 
praying to the devil. We began, ' Arm of the Lord, awake, awake ! ' 
She immediately sunk down as asleep ; but, as soon as we left off, 
broke out again, with inexpressible vehemence, ' Stony hearts, break ! 
I am a warning to you. I am damned, that you may be saved.' She 
then fixed her eyes on the corner of the ceiling, and said, ' There he 
is ; ay, there he is ; come, good devil, come. Take me away. I am 
yours. Come just now. Take me away.' We interrupted her by 
calling again upon God : on which she sunk down as before ; and 
another .young woman began to roar out as loud as she had done. My 
brother now came in, it being about nine o'clock. We continued in 
prayer till past eleven, when God in a moment spoke peace into the 
soul, first of the fii'st tormented, and then of the other. And they 
both joined in singing praise to Him who had ' stilled the enemy and 
the avenger.' " 

" Wednesday, 24. I preached at Baptist Mills on those words of 
St. Paul, speaking in the person of one ' under the law,' (that is, still 
' carnal, and sold under sin,' though groaning for deliverance,) ' I 
know that in me dwelleth no good thing.' A poor woman told me 
afterward, ' I does hope as my husband wont hinder me any more. 

158 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

For I minded lie did shiver every bone of him, and the tears ran down 
his cheeks like the rain.' "' 

It would be easy to make a whole chapter of such cases, but these 
will serve to show the power M'liich accompanied the word as preached 
by the leader of the Methodists, and which afterward gave similar 
testimony to the truth under the ministry of the first Methodists in 
America. Xor were these marvels found among Methodists alone. 
The very same superhuman influences are mentioned in the history of 
the great revival, wliich began at about the same time, at l^orthamp- 
ton, in Massachusetts, under the ministry of that famous Congregation- 
alist divine, Dr. Jonathan Edwards. "^^ The same agonies and ecstasies 
axe also mentioned in connection with other great historic revivals of 
religion, and it is to be regretted that so many good people who have 
felt themselves called upon to denounce these '* extravagancies " should 
have overlooked the book of the Acts of the Apostles, whose records, 
if carefully studied, would have given them a more intelligent, as well 
as a more orthodox view of the case. 

* The revival which comineuced at Northampton spread throughout the greater part of 
the colony. All sorts of people — high and low, rich and poor, wise and unwise, moral and 
immoral — simultaneously became the subjects of the Spirit's strivings, and were converted. 
This remarkable movement took place only a few months before Wesley set sail for Georgia, 
and continued for several years afterwai-d. Mr. Edwards published a narrative of its most 
striking incidents, in which he says : — 

In many instances conviction of sin and conversion were attended with intense physical 
excitement. Numbers fell prostrate on the ground, and cried aloud for mercy. The bodies 
of others were convulsed and benumbed. As chaos preceded creation, so in New England 
confusion went before conversion. The work was great and glorious, but was accompanied 
with noise and tumult. Men literally cried for mercy ; but the loudest outcries were not so 
loud as the shrieks of Voltaire or Volney, when the prospect of eternity unnerved them. 
.Stout-hearted sinners trembled ; but not more tlien philosophers of the present day would 
do if they had equally vivid views of the torments of the damned to which sin exposes 
them. There were groanings and faintings ; transports and ccstacies ; zeal sometimes more 
fervid than discreet ; and passion not unf requently more powerful than pious ; but, from one 
end of the land to the other, multitudes of vain, thoughtless sinners were unmistakably 
converted, and were made new creatures in Christ Jesus. Frolicking, night-walking, singing 
lewd songs, tavern-haunting, profane speaking, and extravagance in dress, were generally 
abandoned. The talk of the people was about the favor of God, an interest in Christ, a 
sanctified heart, and spiritual blessedness here and hereafter. The country was full of 
meetings of persons of all. sorts and ages, to read, pray, and sing praises. Oftentimes the 
people were wrought up into the highest transports of love, joy, and admiration, and had 
such views of the divine perfections and the excellencies of Christ, that for five or six 
hours together their souls reposed in a kind of sacred elysium, until the body seemed to sink 
beneath the wciglit of divine discoveries, and nature was deprived of all ability to stand or 
6peak. — Tyerinariif Life and Times of Wesley. 

The Gospel in "Word and in Power. 159 

In one of liis replies to a clerical opponent, in May, 1739, Mr. 
Wesley says : — 

" The question between us turns chiefly, if not wholly, on matter of 
fact. Tou deny that God does now work these effects : at least, that 
he works them in this manner. I affirm both ; because I have heard 
these things with my own ears, and have seen them with my eyes. I 
have seen (as far as a thing of this kind can be seen) very many 
persons changed in a moment from the spirit of fear, horror, despair, 
to the spirit of love, joy, and j^eace ; and from sinful desire, till then 
reigning over them, to a pure desire of doing the will of God. These 
are matters of fact, whereof I have been, and almost daily am, an eye 
or ear witness. What I have to say toucliing visions or dreams, is 
this : I know several persons in whom this great change was wrought 
in a dream, or during a strong representation to the eye of their mind, 
of Christ either on the cross, or in glory. This is the fact ; let any 
judge of it as they please. And that such a change was then wrought 
appears (not from their shedding tears only, or falling into fits, or 
crying out : these are not the fruits, as you seem to suppose, whereby 
I judge, but) from the whole tenor of their life, till then many ways 
wicked ; from that time, holy, just, and good. 

" I will show you him M'ho was a lion till then, and is now a lamb ; 
him that was a drunkard, and is now exemplarily sober ; the whore- 
monger that was, who now abhors the very 'garment spotted by the 
flesh.' These are my living arguments for what I assert, namely, 
' That God does now, as aforetime, give remission of sins, and the gift 
of the Holy Ghost, even to us and to our children ; yea, and that 
always suddenly, as far as I have known, and often in dreams or in 
the visions of God.' If it be not so, I am foimd a false witness before 
God. For these things I do^ and by his grace will^ testify." 

And further, on this point, he writes in his Journal : — 

" Perhaps it might be because of the hardness of our hearts, 
unready to receive any thing unless we see it with our eyes and hear 
it with our ears, that God, in tender condescension to our weakness, 
suffered so many outward signs of the very time when he wrought 
this inward change to be continually seen and heard among us. But 
although they saw " signs and wonders," (for so I must term them,) 
jq\ many would not believe. They could not indeed deny the facts ; 

160 Illustrated Histoey of METHODis]\r. 

but they could explain them away. Some said, ' These were purely 
natural effects ; the people fainted away only because of the heat and 
closeness of the rooms.' And others were ' sure it was all a cheat : 
they might help it if they would. Else why were these things only 
in their private societies : why were they not done in the face of the 
sun ? ' 

" To-day our Lord answered for himself. For while I was enforcing 
these words, ' Be still, and know that I am God,' he began to make 
bare his arm, not in a close room, neither in private, but in the open 
air, and before more than two thousand witnesses. One, and another, 
and another was struck to the earth ; exceedingly trembhng at the 
presence of his power. Others cried, with a loud and bitter cry, 
'What must we do to be saved?' And in less than an hour seven 
persons, wholly unknown to me till that time, were rejoicmg, and 
singing, and with all their might giving thanks to tlie God of their 

Concerning these singular bodily exercises already mentioned, the 
Rev. Ralph Erskine wrote to Wesley thus : " Some of the instances 
you give seem to be exemplified, in the outward manner, by the cases 
of Paul and the jailer, as also Peter's hearers, (Acts ii.) The last 
instance you give of some struggling as in the agonies of death is to 
me somewhat more inexplicable, if it do not resemble the child of 
whom it is said, that ' when he was yet a-coming, the devil threw him 
down and tare him.' I make no question, Satan, so far as he gets 
power, may exert himself on such occasions, partly to mar and hinder 
the beginning of the good work, in the persons that are touched with 
the sharp arrows of conviction ; and partly, also, to prevent the success 
of the Gospel on others. However, the merciful issue of these 
conflicts, in the conversion of the persons thus afEected, is the main 

Erskine also mentions that they have something in Scotland analo- 
gous to what had occurred in Bristol. Sometimes, he says, a whole 
congregation, in a flood of tears, would cry out at once, so as to drown 
the voice of the minister. 

The Rev. Richard Watson writes upon this point : — 

" That cases of real enthusiasm occurred at this and subsequent 
periods, is indeed allowed. There are always nervous, dreamy, and 

The Gospel in Wokd and in Powee. 


excitable people to be found ; and the emotion produced among these 
would often be communicated by natural sympathy. Xo one could 
be blamed for this unless he had encouraged the excitement for its 
own sake, or taught the people to regard it as a sign of grace, which 
most assuredly Mr. "Wesley never did. ISTor is it correct to represent 
these effects, genuine and fictitious together, as peculiar to Methodism. 
Great and rapid results were produced in the first ages of Christianity, 
but not without ' outcries,' and strong corporeal as well as mental 
emotions. Like effects often accompanied the preaching of eminent 
men at the Reformation ; and many of the Puritans and Non-con- 
formist ministers had similar successes in our own country. In Scot- 
land, and also among the grave Presbyterians of New England, 
previous to the rise of Methodism, the ministry of faithful men had 
been attended by very similar circumstances." 

Besides these " bodily exercises," there were about this time two 
or three triumphant deaths among the Methodist converts, whose 
dying testimonies added further confirmation of the blessed truth of 
regeneration through faith in Jesus Christ : and these and other such 
experiences, wrought into hymns by Charles Wesley, the poet of the 
great revival, then began to cheer the souls of believers with songs 
which were destined to be heard and echoed all around the world. 





Field Preaching^. — It 

was the impetuous White- 
field who set the example of 
held preaching, but his older 
brethren, the Wesleys, were 
soon led to follow it. 
AVhiteheld, now returned fr(»m his first visit to America, had been 
ordained as a priest by his old friend Bishop Benson, who says of 
him: "Though mistaken on some points, I think Mr. Whitefield a 
very pious, well-meaning young man, with good abilities and great 
zeal." Going to Georgia had not cured him of any of his " enthu- 
siasm," or sliorn him of any of his strength. Again the churches 
from Avhich lie was not shut out were overwhelmed witli peoi>Ie^ 
thousands of whom were glad to hear, even from the church-yard, the 
wonderful preacher whom they could not approach near enough to 

"The World is My Paeish." 163 

see, and tliey found the preaching to be the same doctrine over again : 
Regeneration by the Holy Ghost ; and the same practical outcome : 
conversion of sinners, and collections for the Georgia mission. 

At Bristol, the scene of his great success the year before, he was 
now denied the use of the churches, and was obliged to content him- 
self with a sermon on " The Penitent Thief " to the prisoners in 
Newgate ; but even here he did not omit the collection, which, on 
this occasion, he tells us, amounted to fifteen shillings. Here, also, 
the State-church authorities pursued him, and at their instance the 
mayor and magistrates commanded the jailer not to allow him to 
preach again in the prison, giving as a reason that " he insisted upon 
the necessity of being born again." 

What harm it could possibly do the i!^ewgate prisoners to be born 
again the magistrate did not say ; the point to be gained was, to 
silence this too faithful, too orthodox, too evangelical preacher. But 
the Gospel was in him as a fire shut up in his bones. He was sent to 
preach : God had called him to do that work in his boyhood : for it 
he had been ordained both deacon and priest : sinners needing new 
hearts were terribly plenty : and, besides, there was his Orphan House 
to be built in Georgia : therefore, he must preach : heaven and earth 
demanded it. 

Bristol and Kiiig'SiFOod. — There was a village of colliers at 
Kingswood, near Bristol, a people whom he already knew to be almost 
in a state of barbarism, and on whom nothing was so likely to take 
saving effect as his favorite doctrine of regeneration. They were 
evidently too far gone in sin to be repaired ; any work that could reach 
their case must include a new nature and begin with a new birth. 
Here on Sunday, February lYth, 1739, for the first time in England, 
George Whitefield preached in the open air. His congregation was 
made up of about two hundred of the Kingswood colliers, and of his 
experience in this connection he writes : " I believe I was never more 
acceptable to my Master than when I was standing to teach these 
hearers in the open fields." 

On the 4th of March following he preached again in the open air 
at a place called Baptist Mills, to a congregation of three or four thou- 
sand people. The sight of this great throng elated him : " Blessed be 
God ! " says he, " all things happen for the furtherance of the Gospel : 

164 Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

I now preach to teu times as many people as I should if I had been 
confined to the churches. Surely the devil is blind ; so are his emis- 
saries, or they would not so confoimd themselves." 

The State-church of England was a part of the machinery of the 
Government. The Church was the instrument of the State. The 
means of grace were matters for which Englishmen might be taxed. 
The reofular clero-v held their places bv act of Parliament as well as bv 
personal and political favor; they were therefore manageable. But 
the people called " Methodists," who were now becoming so numerous 
and so troublesome, were not disposed to submit to the political mo- 
nopoly of rehgion claimed by the clergy and magistrates ; and as for 
Whitefield, wliile he desired to do nothing contrary to his ordination 
vows in the Establishment, he could by no means I'efuse to heed the 
call of the great Shepherd and Bishop of Souls, by whom he was 
appointed a preacher of righteousness. The churches were the property 
of the Establishment, but the out-of-doors belonged to the Lord; 
therefore when Whitefield found himself shut out of the Church of 
England, he straightway adjourned his services to the church of God. 

It was a bold thing to do, but TThitefield does not seem to have 
been conscious of any great courage in the matter. He was already 
somewhat calloused by the abuse of his enemies, and to be called bad 
names by them did him httle harm. On one occasion, at Coal-pit 
Heath, in the neighborhood of Bristol, while he was preaching to a 
congregation of many thousands, a " gentleman " who was drank 
interrupted him, called him a " dog," declared that he ought to be 
" whipped at the cart's tail " — which was one of the modes of punish- 
ment in that day — and offered money to any one who would pelt him 
with mud and stones ; but the colliers were the friends of the preacher, 
and instead of pelting him they pelted his adversary until the over- 
zealous "gentleman" was glad to make his escape and leave the 
Methodist to go on with his sermon. 

At Hannam Mount he preached to four or five thousand people, 
of wliich service he writes : — 

" The sun shone very bright, and the people, standing in such an 
awful manner around the moimt in the profomidest silence, tilled me 
with holy admiration." 

Two days later he estimates his congregation at ten thousand, but 

"The World is My Parish." 165 

the voice of the preacher was so loud and clear that it could be dis- 
tinctly heard by every one in the vast assembly. At Rose Green, in 
Kingswood, his congregation covered three acres, and was computed at 
twenty thousand souls, upon which he exclaims : '" The fire is kindled 
in the country, and all the devils in liell shall not be able to quench it." 
Among these crowds of poor people Wliitefield collected about two 
hundred pounds for his Georgia orphanage, much of it with his own 
hands, in his own hat, which latter was sometimes almost filled 
with half-pence, and the carrying of such a weight through such a 
crowd caused him to complain of the lameness of his arms. 

Besides his public ministrations he gave personal instruction to 
inquirers in the divine mysteries of faith and regeneration : he was 
also teaching his brother Methodists how to carry on their work with- 
out any just cause of offense to the rich and the mighty, and in a way 
by which, without the help of their money or their influence, the 
Gospel could be preached to the ignorant and the poor. Out-door 
preaching was not forbidden by the Prayer Book, though not contem- 
plated by the men who made it. Such services were, indeed, iri*egu- 
lar, but no one could say they were unlawful. On several previous 
occasions, after preaching a charity sermon by special request in some 
Church, Whitefield had felt himself impelled to go out and preach in 
the church-yard to the larger congregation which awaited him there, 
and this new departure had already developed in him a larger freedom 
of manner than was fashionable at that time. When, therefore, he took 
to field preaching he easily broke away from the stiffness which pre- 
vailed within church walls, and began at once to strike out boldly and 
freely to reach the hearts of the people, multitudes of whom would 
never have heard the word of life if "Whitefield and his brother Meth- 
odists had not brought it out of the Church to them in the woods and 
fields. It was the miracle of feeding the five thousand over again. 
That was an out-of-door service, too, and was doubtless intended to be 
prophetic as well as humane. 

Wesley Takes to the Fields.— It was now necessary for 
Mr. Whitefield to leave the neighborhood of Bristol, but he could not 
beai- the thought of leaving this great fiock to be scattered abroad as 
sheep having no shepherd, therefore he wrote to his friend John Wes- 
ley at London to come down to Bristol and carry on the work which 

166 Illusteated History of Metuodis^i. 

he had. begun ; and, mncli to the grief of tlie London Societies, among 
whom Wesley had come to be a spiritual leader, as weW as much against 
the prejudices of his brother Charles, M^ho was sliocked at the idea of 
any thing so irregular as an out-of-door ser\ace, he consented to make 
trial of this new method of work. But first the call was made a sub- 
ject of special prayer by the brethren, after which the matter was sub- 
mitted to the " test by lot," a common practice among the Moravians, 
and the lot decided that he should go. 

Charles "Wesley apj^ears not to hare been satisfied "o-ith the knowl- 
edge of the divine will obtained in this manner, and submitted the 
case to the further test of " opening the book ; " whereupon, the 
book being placed upon its back and allowed to fall open, the first text 
which caught his eye was, " Son of man, behold I take from thee the 
desire of thine eyes with a stroke, yet thou shalt not groan nor weep." 
Thus to all appearances it was the will of God that John Wesley 
should go down to Bristol, at which place he arrived on Saturday, the 
31st of April, 1739. He would have gone to the ends of the earth on 
the strength of such a call. 

Of his first service in Bristol Mr. Wesley writes : — 

" Saturday, 31. In the evening I reached Bristol, and met Mr. 
Whitefield there. I could scarce reconcile myself at first to this 
strange M-ay of preaching in the fields, of which he set me an example 
on Sunday ; having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of 
every point relating to decency and order that I should have thought 
the saving of souls almost a sin if it liad not been done in a church." 

"April 1, 1739. In the evening (Mr. Whitefield being gone) I 
began expounding our Lord's sermon on the mount (one pretty 
remarkable precedent of field preaching, though I suppose there were 
churches at that time also) to a little society which was accustomed 
to meet once or twice a week in Xicholas-street." 

" Monday, 2. At four in the afternoon I submitted to be more 
vile, and proclaimed in the liighways the glad tidings of salvation, 
speaking from a little eminence in a ground adjoining to tlie city, to 
about three thousand people. The Scripture on which I spoke was 
this, (is it possible any one should, be ignorant, that it is fulfilled in 
every true minister of Christ?) 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 
because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He 

"The Wokld is My Paeish." 167 

hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted ; to preach deliverance to the 
captives, and recovery of sight to the blind : to set at liberty them 
that are bmised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.' " 

" The World is My Parish."— This utterance of Mr. Wes- 
ley, which is perhaps more quoted than any other of his sayings, marks 
the long step in advance which he took when he began to preach in 
the fields. As a Churchman he was forbidden to preach in the parish 
of any clergyman without his consent ; but "Wesley understood the 
jurisdiction of the local minister to be confined to the church and 
those premises which properly belonged thereto ; but that it should 
extend to all the commons, fields, and forests, he could not for a 
moment allow. When he was questioned as to his good faith in hold- 
ing out-of-door services without the consent of the local clergy, he 
rephed : — 

" You ask, ' How is it that I assemble Christians who are none of 
my charge, to sing psalms, and pray, and hear the Scriptures ex- 
pounded? and think it hard to justify doing this in other men's 
parishes, upon catholic principles.' 

" Permit me to speak plainly. If by catholic principles you mean 
any other than scriptural, they weigh nothing with me : I allow no 
other rule, whether of faith or practice, than the Holy Scriptures : but 
on scriptural principles I do not think it hard to justify whatever I do, 
God in Scripture commands me, according to my power, to instruct 
the ignorant, reform the wicked, confirm the virtuous. Man forbids 
me to do this in another's parish ; that is, in elfect, to do it at all, 
seeing I have now no parish of my own, nor probably ever shall. 
Whom, then, shall I hear, God or man ? ' If it be just to obey man 
rather than God, judge you.' 'A dispensation of the Gospel is com- 
mitted to me ; and woe is me if I preach not the Gospel.' But where 
shall I preach it upon the principles you mention? Why, not in 
Europe, Asia, Africa, or America ; not in any of the Christian parts, 
at least, of the habitable earth. For all these are, after a sort, divided 
into parishes. If it be said, ' Go back, then, to the heathens from 
whence you came : ' nay, but neither could I now (on your principles) 
preach to them : for all the heathens in Georgia belong to the parish 
either of Savannah or Frederica. 

" Suffer me now to tell you my principles in this matter. I look 

168 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

upon all tlie world as mj parish ; thus far I mean, that in whatever 
part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and mj bounden duty, to 
declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. 
This is the work which I know God has called me to ; and sure I am 
that his blessing attends it. Great encouragement have I, therefore, 
to be faithful in fulfilling the work he hath given me to do. His 
servant I am, and as such am employed according to the plain direc- 
tion of his word, ' as I have opportunity, doing good unto all men : ' 
and his providence clearly concurs ^vith his word, which has disen- 
gaged me from all things else, that I might singly attend on this very 
thing, ' and go about doing good.' " 

The King's^vood School.* — One of the first thoughts of the 
converted colHers at Kingswood was the need of Christian education 
for their children, and Mr. Whitefield, at his farewell service, April 2, 
1739, laid the corner-stone of a school ; but the plans and the comer- 
stone comprised the chief assets of the enterprise when it fell into the 
hands of Mr. AVesley, who succeeded Whitefield in the care of the 
Kingswood mission. The following account of the work of grace 
among this benighted people, from Mr. Wesley's Journal, gives a vivid 
picture of the life of a great class of persons in the England of that 
day ; a population numbering hundreds of thousands, and scattered all 
over the mining districts of the kingdom : — 

" Few persons have lived long in the west of England who have 
not heard of the colliers of Kingswood ; a people famous, from the 
beginning hitherto, for neither fearing God nor regarding man : so 
ignorant of the things of God that they seemed but one remove from 
the beasts that perish ; and, therefore, utterly without desire of instruc- 
tion, as well as without the means of it. 

" Many last winter used tauntingly to say of Mr. Whitefield, ' If 
he will convert heathens, why does not he go to the colliers of Kings- 
wood ? ' In spring he did so. And as there were thousands who 

* Kingswood was formerly a royal chase, containing between three and four thousand 
acres ; but previous to the rise of Methodism it had been gradually appropriated by the 
several lords whose estates encircled it. The deer had disappeared, and the greater part of • 
the wood also. Coal mines had been discovered, and it was now inhabited by a race of people 
as lawless as the foresters, their forefathers, but far more brutal ; and differing as much 
from the people of the surrounding country in dialect as in appearance. They had no place 
of worship, for Kingswood then belonged to the parish of St. Philip, and was at least 
three miles distant from the parish church. 

"The Woeld is My Parish." 


resorted to no place of public worship, lie went after them into their 
own wilderness, ' to seek and save that which was lost.' "When he was 
called away others went into 'the highways and hedges to compel 
them to come in.' And by the grace of God their labor was not in 
vain. The scene is already changed. Kingswood does not now, as a 
year ago, resound with cursing and blasphemy. It is no more filled 
with drunkenness and uncleanness, and the idle diversions that natu- 
rally lead thereto. It is no longer full of wars and fightings, of clamor 
and bitterness, of wrath and envyings. Peace and love are there. 
Great numbers of the people are mild, gentle, and easy to be entreated. 

:n"ew kixgswood school. 

They 'do not cry, neither strive,' and hardly is their 'voice heard in 
the streets ; ' or, indeed, in their own wood, unless when they are at 
their usual evening diversion, singing praise unto God their Saviour. 
" That their children, too, might know the things which make for 
their peace, it was some time since proposed to build a house in Kings- 
wood ; and after many foreseen and unforeseen difficulties, in June last 
the foundation was laid. The ground made choice of was in the 
middle of the wood, between the London and Bath roads, not far 

170 Illustkated History of ]\Iethodism. 

from that called Two-Mile Hill, about three measured miles from* 

" Here a large room was begun for the school, having four small 
rooms at either end for the school-masters (and perhaps, if it should 
please God, some poor children) to lodge in. Two persons are ready 
to teach so soon as the house is fit to receive them, the shell of which 
is nearly finished ; so that it is hoped the whole will be completed in 
spring, or' early in the summer." 

Such was the beginning of that famous institution ^\•llich for 
many years has been one of the chief training schools of the Enghsh 
Methodist preachers ; its doors being now open only for the sons of 
"Wesleyan ministers in active service. 

"Wesley spent the remainder of the year 1739 at Bristol and 
vicinity, where, in about nine months, he preached and expounded no 
less than five hundi'ed times ; all these services, with only eight excep- 
tions, being held in the open air. 

Wesley and Beau Nash. — The singular spectacle of a 
clergyman of the Church of England, in gown and bands, standing on 
a table, or in a cart, or on the stump of a tree in the open fields, sur- 
rounded by a multitude of unwashed, uncombed, uncultivated people, 
down whose smutty faces the tears had washed little places white, was 
something so wonderful as to attract the notice of the " higher classes," 
and accordingly, among the crowds were often seen the carriages of 
the nobihty and gentry, to whom, however, the preacher was quite 
as plain and faithful as to the ruder portion of his audience, on which 
account he was regarded, in certain quarters, as a very rude and even 
dangerous person. How stupid of him not to be able to discern 
between sin in the rich and sin in the poor ! 

During a visit to the neighboring city of Bath, which was at that 
time the center of the English world of luxury, fashion, and leisure, a 
notorious rake and gambler called Beau Nash, who was the acknowl- 
edged leader in Bath society, attempted to break up one of Wesley's 
out-of-door meetings. Soon after the preacher had connnenced his 
sermon the dandy appeared in gorgeous array, and impudently 
demanded — 

" By what authority dare you do what you are doing now i " 

" By the authority of Jesus Clirist, conveyed to nie by him who is 

• '^The Woeld is My Parish." 171 

now Archbishop of Canterbury, when he laid his hands upon my head 
and said, ' Take thou authority to preach the Gospel,' " was Mr, 
Wesley's dehberate reply. 

"But this is a conventicle," said Nash, "and contrary to act of 

"No," answered "Wesley, "conventicles are seditious meetings, but 
here is no sedition ; therefore it is not contrary to act of Parliament." 

" I say it is," stormed the fellow ; " and, besides, your preaching- 
frightens people out of their wits." 


" Sir," said "Wesley, " did you ever hear me preach '( " 

" How can you judge of what you never heard ? " 
" I judge by common report." 
" Is not your name Nash ? " asked "Wesley. 
" It is," said the beau. 

""Well, sir, I dare not judge yoti by common report," was Mr. 
Wesley's stinging reply. 

The pi'ctentious fop was confounded, especially when an old woman 

172 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

in the cougregation took part in the argument against him, and instead 
of breaking ujd the " conventicle," as he had boasted he would do, 
he was glad enough to sneak away and leave Wesley to finish his 

John Wesley and his Critics. — The preaching of Wesley 
was of a much less florid and enthusiastic style than that of Whitefield. 
but the crowds that waited on him were equally large. In the 
plainest speech he talked the plainest theology, mixed with the most 
downright common sense, and the multitudes seemed to relish it quite 
as well as they did the brilliant rhetoric of his pupil ; his word, also, 
was attended with greater spiritual power. Wliitefield's sermons were 
always " collection sermons," while Wesley was wholly intent od 
teaching his hearers the lesson which he himself had so long been 
striving to learn, namely, how to save their souls. He also took fre- 
quent collections, it is true, but the financial feature was far less promi- 
nent under Wesley than it was under Whitefield. 

If Wesley had held to his Holy Club notions, and simply taught 
the duties of religion, there would have been little or no complaint ; 
but when he declared that without saving faith in Christ there was no 
salvation, even for the aristocracy and clergy, their indignation knew 
no bounds. One of his favorite texts was, " By grace are ye saved 
through faith," and he constantly insisted that it is the grace of God, 
and not their own efforts at goodness, which brings salvation within 
reach of any behever. 

It was not long before both the pulpit and the press opened their 
guns upon him. He was denounced as "a restless deceiver of the 
people;" an "ignorant pretender;" a "new-fangled teacher, setting 
up his own fanatical conceits in opposition to the authority of God ;" 
a " rapturous enthusiast ;" a " Jesuit in disguise ;" and, worst of all, 
" a Dissenter.''^ " Every-where," says Wesley, " we were represented 
as ' mad dogs,' and treated accordingly. We were stoned in the 
streets, and several times narrowly escaped with our lives. In ser- 
mons, newspapers, and pamphlets of all kinds, we were painted as 
unheard-of monsters, but this moved us not ; we went on testifying 
salvation by faith both to small and great, and not counting our hves 
dear unto ourselves so that we might finish our course with joy." 

As a specimen of the churchly criticisms on Jolni Wesley, this. 

• "The World is My Parish." 173 

from a sermon by Eev. Joseph Drapp, a London Doctor of Divinity, 
will suffice. He accuses Wesley of " outraging common decency and 
common sense ;" says his course is " so ridiculous as to create the 
greatest laughter, were it not so deplorable and detestable as to create 
the greatest grief and abhorrence, especially when vast multitudes are 
so sottish and wicked as in a tumultuous manner to run maddening 
after liim. Go not after these impostors and seducers," he cries, " but 
shun them as you would the plague. I am ashamed to speak upon a 
subject which is a reproach, not only to our Church and country, but 
human nature itself. To the prevalence of immorality and profanity, 
infidelity and atheism, is now added the pest of enthusiasm." 

This tirade he published in a pamphlet entitled " The Nature, 
Folly, Sin, and Danger of being Eighteous Over Much ; with a 
Particular Yiew to the Doctrines and Practices of Certain Modern 
Enthusiasts." All this, and much more to the same purj)ose, because 
a plain-spoken young minister of the Establishment was preaching the 
plain Scripture doctrine of salvation by faith, and doing that preach- 
ing out of doors ! 

Whitefield, also, was treated to his full share of abuse, since his 
favorite doctrine of regeneration was no whit more acceptable to the 
English Pharisees than Wesley's teachings on salvation by faith. 
One Thomas Tucker, a young clergyman, in a bitter attack on 
Mr, Whitefield, accused him of " propagating blasphemies and enthu- 
siastic notions which strike at the root of all religion, and make it the 
jest of those who sit in the seat of the scornful ;"' to which Wesley 
replied on Whitefield's behalf by advising Tucker not to meddle with 
controversy, since his talents were not equal to its management, and 
it would only entangle and bewilder him. 

Charles Wesley and Ingham were also at work on the same lines, 
but for a time they appear to have escaj^ed persecution under cover of 
the tumult which raged around the two chief aj)ostles of the Meth- 
odist revival. 

The next onslaught was much more authoritative and serious. 
In August, 1739, Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, published a 
'■ Pastoral Letter by way of Caution against Lukewarmness on the One 
Hand, and Enthusiasm on the Other," a large part of which was 
leveled against the Methodists, whom he accuses of claiming divine 

174 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

inspiration in their preaching, and special divine direction in their 
personal affairs; forgetting, no doubt, that both these benedictions 
were promised to believers in the word of God. But the thing wliich 
troubled the Bishop the most was, the fact that the Methodists boasted 
of " sudden and surprising effects as wrought by the Holy Ghost in 
consequence of their preaching ;" and that they endeavored " to justify 
their own extraordinary methods of teaching by casting unworthy 
reflections upon the parochial clergy, as deficient in the discharge of 
their duty, and not instructing their people in the true doctrines of 

To this " pastoral letter " Whitefield wrote an answer, in a firm 
but respectful tone, turning the tables upon the Bishop, and charging 
him with propagating a " new gospel ;" quoting from the Bishop's 
writings the statement that '' good works are a necessary condition of 
our being justified in the sight of God ;" while Whitefield reasserted 
that faith is the only necessary condition of justification, and that good 
works are the necessary fruit and consequences of a saved condition 
of soul. " This," says Whitefield, " is the doctrine of Jesus Christ ; 
this is the doctrine of the Church of England ; and it is because the 
generality of the Church of England to-day fail to preach this doctrine 
that I am resoh^ed, God being my helper, to continue, in season and 
out of season, to declare it unto all men, let the consequences as to my 
private person be what they will." 

" The Methodists," says another critic, "are mad enthusiasts, who 
teach, for dictates of the Holy Spirit, seditions, heresies, and contempt 
of the ordinances of God and man. They are buffoons in religion, 
and mountebanks in theology ; creatures who disclaim sense and are 
below argument." 

Tliis writer also accuses AVhitefield of " behavior disgraceful to the 
Christian religion and to the ministerial office." '' The clergy," says 
he, " have all refused him their pulpits, and the Lord-Mayor the halls 
and markets of the city. He is a conceited boaster and heterodox 
intruder, whose next performance may be accompanied with a chorus 
of ten thousand sighs and groans, deepened with bassoons." In view 
of the alarming progress of Methodism he makes his pitiful moan as 
follows : — 

''In Yorkshire, by the })reachiiig of tlie Methodists the spirit of 

• ''The AYoeld is My Parish." 175 

enthusiasm has so prevailed that almost every man who can hammer 
out a chapter in the Bible has turned an expounder of the Scripture, 
to the great decay of industry and the almost niin of the woolen manu- 
facture, which seems threatened with destniction for want of hands to 
work it. Methodism has laid aside play-books and poems for Script- 
ure phrases and hymns of its own composing. Its disciples are never 
easy but when they are in a church or expounding the Bible, which 
they can do off-handed from Genesis to Revelation with great ease and 
power. They have given away their finery to tattered beggars, resolv- 
ing to wear the coarsest attire and live upon the most ordinary diet. 
Several fine ladies, who used to wear French sillvs, French hoops four 
yards wide, bob-wigs, and white satin smock petticoats, are turned 
Methodists, and now wear stuff gowns ! " 

Alas, alas ! "What was to become of England if Methodism went 
on at such a rate ? Still, we must not be unmindful of this sinister 
compliment to the Yorkshire Methodists for their extraordinary knowl- 
edge of the word of God. Such a talent for " expounding the Bible " 
" from Genesis to Revelation," with such " power and ease," ought to 
have mitigated the grief of this churchly man over such awful calam- 
ities as a fine lady turned Methodist, and her lamentable downfall from 
^' white satin smock petticoats " to " stuff gowns." 

One Penruel, a curate of the Estabhshment, declared that of his 
personal knowledge John Wesley was a Papist ; but the Papists, for 
their part, denounced him ; so there was an end to that slander. 

Whether the attacks of the press and the pulpit were intended to 
excite the mob against the Methodists, it is impossible to say ; but that 
these attacks were well calculated to that end cannot be denied. On 
one occasion a mob gathered from the worst purlieus in Bristol filled 
the streets and alleys near the place where Wesley was preaching, and 
also filled the air with a perfect din of shouts, groans, and curses ; but 
it was remarked that within a fortnight one of the chief rioters hanged 
himself, and a second, being seized with serious illness, sent for Mr. 
Wesley to come and pray with him. 

Dr. Doddridge on the Methodists. — There were, how- 
ever, some godly men of high position who saw and felt the divine 
power which accompanied the new revival, and who bore brave 
testimony to the faithfulness and soundness of its leaders ; as proof of 


Illustrated Histoey of ^Methodism. 


wliicli take the following extract from a letter written bv the Eev. Dr. 
Doddridge. Under the date of September IT, 1739, he writes con- 
cemins: the two "Weslevs. "Whitefield, and Ingham : — 

" The common people flock to 
hear them, and in most places hear 
gladly. They commonly preach 
once or twice every day ; and ex- 
pound the Scriptures in the even- 
ing to religious societies, who have 
their society rooms for that pur- 
pose." He then proceeds to give 
an account of his hearing Charles 
Wesley preach at Bristol, standing 
on a table, in a field. "' He then," 
continues Dr. Doddridge, " preached 
about an hour in such a maimer as 
I scarce ever heard any man preach. 
Though I have heard many a finer 
sermon, yet I think I never heard any man discover such evident 
signs of vehement desire." •• With unusual fervor he acquitted 
himself as an embassador for Christ ; and although he used no notes, 
nor had any thing in his hand but a Bible, yet he deUvered his 
thoughts in a rich, copious variety of expression, and with so much 
propriety that I could not observe any thing incoherent through the 
whole performance, which he concluded with singing, prayer, and the 
usual benediction." 

Thus in various ways the Methodist revival was promoted, and its 
leaders vindicated and protected, both by the praise of godly men, 
and the powers of the upper world. 

The "Xew Room'' and the "Old Foundry."— The 
first Methodist house of worsliip was that erected by John Wesley 
at Bristol in 1739, for the accommodation of the Kicholas-street and 
Baldwin-street " Societies." It was not dignified by the name of 
" church " or even " chapel," but was simply called " The ISTew 

More famihar to readers of Methodist history, however, is the 
first Methodist preaching-house in London. This was the famous 

"The World is My Parish." 


" Old Foundry," tlie purchase of whicli Mr, Wesley undertook 
oil liis own sole responsibility, and which, as the cradle of London 
Methodism, deserves a somewhat minute description. 

In November, 1739, Mr. Wesley was invited by two gentlemen, 
who were strangers to him, to preach in an unused and dilapidated 
building in London near the Moorfields ; where on Sunday, Novem- 
ber 11th, he preached to two large congregations. In the mormng, at 
eight o'clock, there were about five thousand, and at five in the even- 
ing, seven or eight thousand persons present. The place had formerly 


been used as a government foundry for the casting of cannon, but 
somewhat more than twenty years before this a terrible explosion had 
occurred which blew off the roof and otherwise injured the building, 
killing and wounding a considerable number of workmen. This acci- 
dent led to the abandonment of the Old Foundry and the removal of 
the works to Woolwich. 

The purchase-money was £115; but the place being "a vast un- 
couth heap of ruins," a large sum additional to this had to be ex]iended 

178 Illustrated History of Methodis^l 

in needful repairs. To meet this expenditure some friends lent him 
the pm-chase money ; and offered to pay subscriptions, some four, some 
six, and some ten shillings a year toward the liquidation of the debt. 
In three years these subscriptions amounted to about £480, leaving, 
however, a balance of nearly £300, for which AVesley was still respon- 
sible. From this it would seem that the entire cost of the Old 
Foundry was about £800. 

It stood in the locality called '' Windmill Hill," now known by 
the name of "Windmill-street, a street that runs parallel with City 
Eoad, and abuts on the north-west corner of Finsbury Square. The 
building measured about forty yards, in front, from north to south. 
There were two front doors, one leading to the chapel, and the other to 
the preacher's house, school, and bandroom. A bell was hung in a 
plain beKry, and was rung every morning at five o'clock for early serv- 
ice, and every evening at nine for family worship ; as well as at sundry 
other times. The chapel, which would accommodate some fifteen hun- 
dred people, was without pews ; but on the ground floor, immediately 
before the pulpit, were about a dozen seats with back rails, appro- 
priated to female worshipers. Under the front gallery were the free 
seats for women ; and under tlie side galleries, the free seats for men. 
The front gallery was used exclusively by females, and the side gal- 
leries by males. " From the beginning," says "Wesley, " the men and 
women sat apart, as they always did in the primitive Church ; and 
none were suffered to call any place their own, but the first comers sat 
down first. Tliey had no pews ; and all the benclies for rich and poor 
were of the same construction." * 

The bandroom Avas behind the chapel, on the ground floor, some 
eighty feet long and twenty feet wide, and accommodated about three 
hundred persons. Here the classes met ; here, in winter, the five 
o'clock morning service was conducted ; and here were held, at two 
o'clock on "Wednesdays and Fridays, weekly meetings for prayer and 
intercession. The nortli end of the room was used for a school, and 
M-as fitted up with desks ; and at the south end was " The Book 
Room," for the sale of Wesley's publications. 

* Wesley's arrangements for the Foundrv congregation were carried out in all his 
London chapels until four years before his death, when, greatly to his annoyance, the lay 
authorities at City Road Chapel set aside his policy and allowed families to sit together. 

' "The World is My Paeish." 179 

Over tlie bandroom were apartments for AVesley, in which his 
mother died ; and at the end of the chapel was a dwelling-house for 
his domestics and assistant preachers ; while attached to the whole was 
a small building used as a coach-house and stable. 

Nome Moravian Heresies, — The " Societies " in London, 
in whose fellowship the Methodists of this period lived and labored, 
were at iirst wliollj composed of pious Episcopalians and Moravians, 
chielly the latter ; but a large number of persons who had been con- 
verted under the preaching of Whiteiiekl and the Wesleys were soon 
incorporated into them, and frequent dissensions arose between the 
older and younger members, which John Wesley, who was now the 
i-ecognized leader among them, was ofttimes called upon to settle. 
He could not be absent even for a few weeks without finding a quarrel 
on his return, either concerning the peculiar teachings of some newly 
arrived Moravians from Germany, or because of some petty personal 
grievance ; or, it might be, a rebellion against the authority of Charles 
Wesley, who in the absence of his elder brother felt a very great 
responsibility of management, and who, from first to last, had a decided 
talent for making trouble ; or perhaps the chronic jealousy of some 
of the Germans had broken out into open war against the Wesleys, and 
held that as new-comers and novices they should be more in subjec- 
tion ; while the English converts fought for the rights and preroga- 
tives of the Methodists under whose preaching they had been con- 

On one occasion Mr. Wesley, returning from a brief absence, 
found them contending over the Moravian notion of " Quietism," as it 
has been called ; that is to say, the alleged duty of the inquirer after 
God to wait in absolute spiritual silence and inaction until the Lord 
should appear to do his saving work in the soul. There was one 
Malther, who aspired to be a theological doctor, and wdio taught, 
among other things, that faith does not admit of degrees ; there must 
be either the full assurance by the Holy Ghost of the indwelling of 
Christ, or else there is no faith at all ; while Wesley, following a 
higher authority, had taught them to look first for " the blade," then 
for "the ear," then for "the full corn in the ear." Some of the Mora- 
vians, in their attempts to honor the doctrine of salvation by faith, 
proceeded to the extravagance of teaching that believers were not 

180 Illustrated History of Methodis:m. 

boiKid to obey the moral law, any more than the subjects of the 
King of England were bound to obey the King of France ; while 
AVesley believed and taught that Christ came, not to destroy, but to 
fiiMll the law. 

One of the Germans, named Bell, insisted that it was deadly 
poison for a man to come to the Lord's Supper, or even to read the 
Scriptures and pray, until he was bom of God. " If we read," said 
he, " the devil reads with us ; if we pray, he prays with us ; if we go 
to the sacrament, he goes with us." " Weak faith is no faith," said 
another. " As many go to hell by praying as by thieving," said a third. 

Against these wild notions "Wesley, who knew more of the ti-ue 
Moravian doctrine than the renegade Moravians themselves, contended 
with all his might, whereupon the Fetter Lane Society, of which he was 
one of the original members, voted to exclude him from its list of min- 
isters, though they did not, at this time, expel him from membership. 

Mr. W esley Leaves the ]^Ioraviaii Society. — On the 
20th of July, 1T40, four days after the action above mentioned, Mr. 
"Wesley went to one of the Fetter Lane love-feasts, and at its con- 
clusion read a paper stating the errors into which they had fallen, and 
concluding thus : " I believe these assertions to be flatly contrary to 
the word of God. I have warned you hereof again and again, and 
besought yuu to turn back to the ' law and the testimony.' I have 
borne with you long, hoping you would turn. But, as I lind you 
more and more contirmed in the error of your ways, nothing now 
remains but that I should give you up to God. You that are of the 
same judgment, follow me." "Without saying more he then silently 
M'ithdrew, eighteen or nineteen of the society following him. So 
ended John "Wesley's connection with the Moravian Church in whicli 
he had learned so much and labored so well. 

It would seem as if God were thus cutting his chosen servant 
loose from one tie after another which shortened his liberty and hin- 
dered his work. His heart clung to the regular methods of the min- 
istry of the Establishment, but for no offense save that he preached 
too well and with too much success the Establishment turned him out 
of doors. The societies of his Moravian brethen, his first spiritual 
teachers, were then his chosen resting-place ; but from this limited 
ministry and fellowship he was now compelled to take his departure 

• "The World is My Paeish." 181 

and strike out into all the world alone. The Fetter Lane Society was 
only too well named ; it was a heavy clog to his feet ; henceforth, in 
soul and body, the great leader must be free. 

An attempt was made by Count Zinzendorf, the following year, to 
bring Mr. ^^esley back into the Moravian field, l)ut without avail. 
The Count, with his usual manner of authority, charged Wesley with 
changing his religion, quarreling with the brethren, and teaching false 
views of Christian perfection. But Wesley had now outgrown the 
Moravian leading-strings. The Count, whom he had once obeyed 
with abject submission, could no longer play the Pope over him, and 
as for the Moravian theology, Wesley says : " Waiving their odd and 
affected phrases ; their weak, mean, silly, childish exj)ressions ; their 
crude, confused, and undigested notions ; and their whims, unsup- 
ported either by Scripture or sound reason, I find three grand, unre- 
tracted errors running through almost all their books, namely, uni- 
versal salvation, antinomianism, and a kind of new, reformed quietism." 
No wonder the proposed reunion failed. 

The Methodist " United Society." — From the Fetter 
Lane love-feast Wesley and the seceders proceeded to the Foundry, 
where, on the 23d day of July, 1T40, he formed them into the first 
" United Society," on a plan much resembling those from whose fel- 
lowship he had departed. There were twenty-five men and forty-eight 
women in attendance. With this little band of Methodists the world 
was to be overrun. 

" In the latter end of the year 1739," says Mr. Wesley, " eight or 
ten persons came to me in London, and desired that I should spend 
some time with them in prayer, and advise them how to 'flee from 
the wrath to come : ' this was the rise of the ' United Societies.' " 
It would appear that these eight or ten persons were members of the 
Fetter Lane Society who were disturbed, and, likely enough, dis- 
gusted, by the continued dissensions and the vagaries of doctrine which 
they found therein ; and it would be a natural solution of the problem 
of different dates, which would otherwise be confusing, to fix this vol- 
untary action on the part of these eight or ten persons as the first 
suggestion to Mr. Wesley of the necessity of a separate organization, 
which, a few months later, was effected by the establishment of the 
first United Society at the Foundiy. 

182 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

Iiay Preachers — Ho"%vell Harris. — In the ^Moravian so- 
cieties, no less than in the State Church, it was held to be a sin 
and a shame for any but an ordained man to jDreach ; though in the 
Mora^'ian societies he might relate his experience and incidentally 
bring in a good deal of Scripture exposition there^vith. But in the 
year 1739 Mr. Wesley had made the acquaintance of the AVelsh 
evangelist, Howell Harris, a man who, with no ordination whatever, 
had been blessed with a success in the preaching of the Gospel in 
AVales almost equal to that M'hieh had attended the jDreaching of the 
Methodists in England. This Welshman ajjpears to have been the 
first man in the United Kingdom who caught the idea of preaching 
the Gospel on the sole authority of the Author of the Gospel, instead 
of on the authority of a self-constituted Church. 

Harris lirst commenced visiting from house to house in his own 
native parish, and in neighboring ones, about the same time that the 
Wesleys reached Georgia. Up to this period the morals of the TTelsh 
were deplorably corrupt : and among both rich and poor, ministers 
and people, gluttony, drunkenness, and licentiousness were common. 
In the parish churches the name of Christ was hardly ever , uttered, 
and in 1736 there were only six Dissenting chapels throughout the 
whole of northern Wales. 

Crowds began to gather about him. and, almost without knowing it, 
Harris began to preach. The magistrates and clergy threatened him ; 
but their threats failed to silence him. For a maintenance he set up 
a school, and meantime continued preaching. Xumbers were con- 
vinced of sin, and these the yoimg preacher, only twenty-two years of 
age, formed into small societies. At the end of 1737 persecuting 
malice ejected him from his school ; but, instead of silencing the 
preacher, it led him to preach more than ever. He now gave himself 
entirely to the Avork of an evangehst, and henceforth generally de- 
livered three or four, and sometimes five or six, sermons daily to 
crowded congregations. A wide-spread reformation followed. Public 
diversions became unfashionable, and religion became the theme of 
common conversation. Thus Howell Harris was an itinerant preacher 
at least a year and a half before TThitefield and Wesley ; and, as the 
herald of hundreds more who were to follow, he met the fiercest 
persecutions with an undauntsd soul and an unflinching face. Par- 

' "The AVoeld is My Parish." 183 

gons^ and coiintrj squires menaced liira, and mobs swore and flung 
stones and sticks at him ; but he cahnly pursued his way, laboring 
ahnost alone in his own isolated sphere until he met with AYhitefield in 
the town of Cai'difE, in ITSO.^Whiteiield says he found him " a burning 
and shining light ; a barrier against profanity and immorality ; and an 
indefatigable promoter of tlie Gospel of Christ. During the last 
three years he had preached almost twice every day, for three or 
four hours together; had visited seven counties, established thirty 
societies, and the good work was growing and spreading under his 

John Ceuiiiek. — It is not quite proper, however, to reckon 
Harris as the first Metlwdist lay preacher : that honor belongs to John 
Cennick, the son of an English Quaker, who was brought up in the 
quiet, religious ways of that excellent people, but who, on leaving 
home to learn the trade of carpenter, in London, fell into the snares 
which always infest great cities, and soon became a gay young man of 
the world. 

In 1735 John was convinced of sin while walking in Cheapside, 
and at once left off song-singing, ■eardq^laying, and attending theaters. 
Sometimes he wished to go into a popish monastery, to spend his life 
in devout retirement ; at other times he longed to live in a cave, 
sleeping on fallen leaves, and feeding on forest fruits. He fasted long 
and often, and prayed nine times every day. He was afraid of seeing 
ghosts, and terribly apprehensive lest he should meet the devil. Fan- 
cying dry bread too great an indulgence for so great a sinner as 
himseK, he began to feed on potatoes, acorns, crabs, and grass ; and 
often wished he could live upon roots and herbs. At length, on Sep- 
tember 0, 1737, he found peace with God, and went on his way rejoic- 
ing. Like Howell Harris, he at once connnenced preaching ; and also 
began to write hymns, a number of v.diich Charles AVesley corrected 
for the press. 

In May, 1739, on the recommendation of Mr. Whitefield, Cennick 
was placed in charge of the i^ew Ivingswood School, in which office 
he also rendered good service as a preacher, and gained strong hold 
upon the hearts of the colliers, as well as of their children. It was 
not long, however, before he began to be afilicted with certain Cal- 
vinistic notions, on account of which he regarded it as either liis 

1S4 Illustiiated History of Metiiodisji. 

privilege or liis duty, or both, to quarrel -with Mr. Wesley, against 
whom he headed a fierce opposition, based wholly upon differences of 
theological opinion, and, ;i6 a result, the work of revival in the region 
of Bristol languished for many years. 

Thomas Maxlield comes next in the notable army of lay 
preachers; a young man of fair talents and deep piety, who, in IT-iO, 
came to Mr. Wesley, in London, and desired to assist him as a " son 
in the Gospel," and whom Mr. Wesley appointed to be the leader of 
the Society at the Foundry. Preaching, however, was no part of his 
duty. But the people were hungry for the bread of life, and young 
Maxfield showed a rare skill in breaking it to them. His efforts as an 
expositor of Scripture became more and more attractive, and presently 
it was reported to Mr. Wesley, then at Bristol, that the young man he 
had appointed simply as a leader of the Foundry Society had taken it 
upon himself to preach ! On the receipt of these strange tidings 
Wesley hastened up to London to put a stop to such wickedness and 
folly ; but on mentioning his intention to his mother, who, after the 
death of her husband had removed to London, that wise, strong- 
souled woman replied : — 

'' Take care what you do. Thomas Maxfield is as truly called of 
God to preach the Gospel as ever you were." 

Mr. Wesley was now in a dilemma. He believed a great deal in the 
traditions of his Church ; he also had great faith in the Christian judg- 
ment of his mother, whose words seemed to impress themselves upon 
him with more than human authority. It was as if the Lord had 
spoken to him by the mouth of this prophetess; therefore, laying 
aside his prejudices, he examined the young man as to his gifts and 
graces, and, instead of extinguishing him as a preacher, he promoted 
him to a kind of lay pastorate of the souls at the Foundry, thus estab- 
lishing the first precedent of that vast system of "appointments" 
M-hich lias since hold such a prominent place in Methodist economy. 



Opinion!^ ! Opinions I— What crimes have been committed 
in thy name ; especially in the name of theological opinions ! 

It is appalling to discover how little good, and how great evil, has 


Illustrated History of Metttothsm. 

come of those theoretical disputes upon which irood men have ex- 
hausted so much talent and time ; while the small importance Mliicli 
the Head of the Church seems to attach to any sort of inferential tlie- 
oloo-y appears in the fact that he carries on his work of saving peni- 
tent sinners, both by means of, and in spite of, long cherished and 
well defended religious opinions. 

"Whitefield, like his teachers the Wesleys, was a believer in free 
o-race until he went to Aniei-ioa ; but at Northampton he met the 


great Dr. Jonathan Edwards, who taught him tlie theology of Calvin, 
and the young evangelist, having a better voice for rhetoric than brain 
for logic, was thereby very much beguiled. But by means of the 
Calvinist Edwards and Whitefield the Lord managed to carry on his 
work of saving sinners as well as by the Arminian John Wesley, 
though by no means to the same ultimate extent. In their opinions 
these men were as wide apart as the poles ; but down underneath their 
opinions they had some real faith, some true religion, which the Lord 
could make use of in carrying on his kingdom without stopping to cor- 

The Calvinistic Contkoversy. 


rect the one or take sides with the other ; though it is plain enough, 
from the providence of God as well as from the general drift of the 
church doctrine, which side of this question he favors. 

With his usual impetuosity, Whitefield plunged soul and body into 
the Calvinistic arena, and at once announced his doctrinal conversion in 
letters to his English friends. Wesley, who was quite as dogmatic as 
his pupil, besides being a much better logician and theologian, took up 
the case with great spirit ; wrote some vigorous letters with a view to 


helping his young pupil out of his delusions, and preached and pul)- 
lished a powerful sermon against Predestination, which was the signal 
for a general theological war. 

For a time these old friends maintained pleasant personal relations 
in spite of the great divergence in their theology ; but the debate waxed 
so hot, and attracted so many new combatants, that for years there was 
much bitterness between them, all cooperation ceased, and a complete 
eeparation, and almost estrangement, ensued. Writing from Savannah, 
under date of March 26, 1740, to Mr. Wesley, Whitefield says : — 

188 Illustrated History of MEniODis:M. 

" My lIoxoRED Fkiexd and Bkothek: — For t)nce hearken to a 
child, who is willing to wash your feet. I beseech you, l»y the mercies 
of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, if you would have my love conlirmed 
tc)ward you, write no more to me about misi'epresentations wherein 
we differ. If possible, I am ten thousand times more con\anced 
of the doctrine of election, and i\\e final perseverance of those that are 
truly in Christ, than when I saw you last. You think otherwise. Why, 
then, should we dispute, when there is no probability of convincing? 
Will it not, in the end, destroy brotherly love, and insensibly take 
from us that cordial union and sweetness of soul which I pray God 
may always subsist between us ? How glad would the enemies of the 
Lord be to see us divided ! How many would rejoice should I join 
and make a party against you I How would the cause of our common 
Master suffer by our raising disj)utes about particular points of doc- 
trine I Honored sir, let us offer salvation freely to all by the blood 
of Jesus; and whatever light God has communicated to us let us 
freely communicate to others. I have lately read the life of Luther, 
and think it in nowise to his honor that the last part of his life was 
so much taken up in disputing with Zwinglius and others, who in 
all probability ecpially loved the Lord Jesus, notwithstanding they 
might differ from him in all other points. Let this, dear sir, be a 
caution to us. I hope it will be to me ; for. provoke me to it as much 
as you please, I intend not to enter lists of controversy with you on the 
points wherein we differ. Only, I pray to God that the more you 
judge me, the more I may love you, and learn to desire no one's appro- 
bation but that of my Lord and Master Jesus Christ." 

Two months after this Whitcficld writes again : — 

Cape Lopex, 2Iaij 24, 1740. 
" Honored Sin : — I cannot entertain prejudices against your con- 
duct and principles any longer, without informing you. The more I 
examine the writings of the most experienced men and the experiences 
of the most established Christians, the more I differ from your notion 
about not committing sin, and your denying the doctrines of election 
and final perseverance of the saints. I dread coming to England, 
unless you are resolved to oppose these tniths with less warmth than 
■w'hcn I was there last. I dread vour cominir over to America, because 

The CALvmisTic Controversy. 189 

tlie work of God is carried on here (and that in a most glorious 
mannerj by doctrines quite ojDposite to those you hold." 

In June he writes to a friend in London : — 

" For Christ's sake desire dear Brother Wesley to avoid disputing 
■with me. I think I had rather die than see a division between us ; 
and yet how can we walk together if we oppose each other ? " 

About the same time he again addresses Wesley as follows : — 

Savannah, June 25, 1740. 

" My Honored Feiend and Beothee : — For Christ's sake, if 
possible, never speak against election in your sermons. No one can 
say that I ever mentioned it in public discourse, whatever my private 
sentiments may be. For Christ's sake, let us not be divided among 
ourselves. Nothing will so much prevent a division as you being 
silent on this head. I am glad to hear that you speak up for an 
attendance on the means of grace, and do not encourage persons who 
run, I am j)ersuaded, before they are called. The work of God will 
suffer by such imprudence. 

" Perhaps the doctrines of election and of final perseverance have 
been abused ; but, notwithstanding, they are children's bread, and 
ought not to be withheld from them, sujDposing they are always men- 
tioned Avitli proper cautions against the abuse of them. I write not 
this to enter into disjDutation. I cannot bear the thought of opposing 
you ; but how can I avoid it, if you go about, as your brother Charles 
once said, to drive John Calvin out of Bristol." 

This " children's bread " Wesley analyzes in the famous sermon 
above mentioned. Mr. Whitefield had professed his intention, not- 
withstanding his views of the doctrine of election, to continue his 
advocacy of the doctrine of free grace, which was to the credit of his 
heart if not of his head : to which Mr. Wesley replies : — 

" Though you use softer words than some, you mean the seK-same 
thing ; and God's decree concerning the election of grace, according to 
your account of it, amounts to neither more nor less than what others 
call ' God's decree of reprobation.' Call it, therefore, by whatever 
name you please, ' election, pretention, predestination, or reprobation,' 
it comes in the end to the same thing. The sense of all is plainly 

190 Illustrated History of Methodism, 

this — bv virtue of an eternal, nnehangeable, irresistible decree of God 
one part of mankind are infallibly saved, and the rest infallibly 
damned ; it being impossible that any of the former should be 
damned, or that any of the latter should be saved." 

Wesley then proceeds to state the objections to such a doctrine : — 

'"1. It renders all preaching vain ; for preaching is needless to 
them that are elected ; for they, whether with or without it, will infal- 
libly be saved. And it is useless to them that are not elected ; foi 
they, whether with preaching or withrmt. will infalliljly be damned. 

" 2. It dii'ectly tends to destroy that holiness which is the end of all 
the ordinances of God ; for it wholly takes away those first motives to 
follow after holiness so frequently proposed in Scripture — the hope of 
future reward and fear of punishment, tlie hope of heaven and fear of 

'' 3. It directly tends to destroy several particular branches of holi- 
ness ; for it naturally tends to inspire or increase a sharpness of 
temper which is quite contrary to the meekness of Christ, and leads a 
man to treat with contempt, or coldness, those whom he supposes to be 
outcasts from God. 

" 4. It tends to destroy the comfort of religion. 

" 5. It directly tends to destroy our zeal for good works ; for what 
avails it to relieve the wants of those who are just dropping into eter- 
nal fire I 

" 6. It has a direct and manifest tendency to overthrow the whole 
Christian revelation ; for it makes it unnecessary. 

" 7. It makes the Christian revelation contradict itself ; for it is 
grounded on such an interpretation of some texts as flatly contradicts 
all the other texts, and indeed the whole sco]3e and tenor of Scripture. 

" 8. It is full of blasphemy ; for it represents our blessed Lord as a 
hypocrite and dissembler, in saying one thing and meaning another — 
in pretending a love which he had not ; it also represents the most 
holy God as more false, more cruel, and more unjust than the devil ; 
for, in point of fact, it says that God has condemned millions of souls 
to everlasting fire for continuing in sin which, for want of the grace 
he gives them not, they are unable to avoid.'' 

Wesley sums up the Nvhole thus : — 

" This is the blasphemy clearly contained in tlie horrible decree of 

The Calyinistic Conteoversy. 191 

predestination. And here I fix my foot. On tliis I join issue with 
every asserter of it. You represent God as worse than the devil." 

The publication of Mr. Wesley's sermons against predestination 
aroused the wrath of the Calvinists to fever heat. In the midst of 
the storm of sermons and pamphlets which it called forth Mr, White- 
field returned a second time from America, and, perceiving that the 
theological gulf between himself and his former friends was now im- 
passable, he began to open his mouth against them. In his reply to 
Mr. Wesley's sermon, he says : — 

" I frankly acknowledge I believe the doctrine of reprobation in 
this view — that God intends to give saving grace through Jesus Christ 
only to a certain nund)er, and that the rest of mankind, after the fall 
of Adam, being justly left of God to continue in sin, will at last 
suffer that eternal death which is its proper wages." Nevertheless, 
he argues that preachers of the Gospel are bound to preach promiscu- 
ously to all, since they cannot possibly know who are the elect and 
who are the reprobate ; and he defends the justice which dooms mill- 
ions of unborn sinners to everlasting burnings, by showing that this 
was the fate which all mankind had justly incurred by reason of the 
sin of Adam, and that, instead of being an act of injustice on the part 
of God to destroy the many, it was an act of special grace on his part 
to save the few. The Bible statement that " the Lord is loving to every 
man, and his mercy is over all his works," Whitefield explains by 
showing that this refers to his general and not his saving mercy ; and 
he goes on to deny the doctrine of Universal Redemption as set forth 
by Wesley, declaring it to be the highest reproach upon the dignity of 
the Son of God, challenging Wesley to make good the assertion that 
Christ died for tliem that perish, on the ground that if all were uni- 
versally redeemed, it would follow that all must finally be saved. 

Whatever may be said of the mysteries of the Calvinistic system 
in general, they were evidently too wonderful for Mr. Whitefield. 

This wide difference of opinion naturally wrought an estrangement 
between these old friends, both of whom, with intemperate zeal, en- 
tered into this war of words, and the next year Mr. Wesley makes 
this entry in his Journal under the date of April 2S, 1741 : — 

" Having heard much of Mr. WhitefiekVs unkin \ 1 ehavior since 
his return from Georgia, I went to him to hear him speak for himself, 


that I might know how to judge. I much approved of his phiin- 
ness of speech. He told me, he and I preached two different Gospels, 
and therefore he not only would not join with, or give me the right 
hand of fellowship, but was resolved publicly to preach against me 
and mj brother, wheresoever he preached at all. Mr. Hall (wlio went 
with me) put him in mind of the promise he had made but a few days 
before, that, whatever his private opinion was, he would never pub- 
licly preach against us. He said, that promise was only an effect of 
human weakness, and he was now of another mind." 

On one occasion, when the two friends met in a large social 
gathering, TThitefield mounted his hobby, and spoke largely and val- 
iantly in defense of his favorite system. TTesley, on the other hand, 
was silent till all the company were gone, when, turning to the 
spurred and belted controversial knight, he quietly remai-ked, 
*• Brother, are you aware of what you have done to-night ? '• 

" Yes.*' said ^"hirejield, " I have defended trath." 

'• You have tried to prove,'" replied AVesley, *• that God is worse 
than the devil ; for the devil can only tempt a man to sin ; but, if 
what you have said be true. Go^ forces a man to sin ; and. therefore, 
on your system, God is worse than the devil." 

Howell Hai'ris, the Welshman, and John Cennick, the Kings- 
wood school-master, both took sides with the Calvinists. The former 
in writing a letter says : — 

'•I have been long waiting to see if Brother John and Charles 
should receive further hght, or be silent and not oppose election and 
perseverance ; but, finding no hope of this, I begin to be staggered 
how to act toward them. I plainly see that we preach two Gospels. 
My dear brother, deal faithfully with Brother John and Charles. If 
you like, you may read this letter to them. We are free in Wales 
from the helhsh infection."' AVhat there is particularly ''helhsh" 
about the doctrine of free grace this enthusiastic predestinarian does 
not minutely point out. To an unprejudiced mind there would 
naturally appear to be more " hell " in the Calvinistic than in the 
Arminian view. 

The Methodist revival was now only just begun, but already there 
ivere two sorts of Methodists, one under the lead of Whitefield, the 
other under the lead of Weslev ; both believinor in Jesus Christ as the 

' The Calvinistic Conteoveesy. 193 

Redeemer and Saviour of men, and in the Holy Ghost as the Sanctifier 
and Comforter of believers, but separated from each other by a set of 
inferences falsely drawn from isolated texts : inferences which ex- 
plained away the universal love of God : " opinions " which, if they 
were true, could have no possible value either to the elect or reprobate, 
and whose only pui*pose seems to have been to confuse the minds and 
sour the tempers of all persons to whose knowledge they might chance 
to come. One of these parties grew into what was called the " Lady 
Huntingdon Connection," after the name of Mr. Whitefield's chief 
patroness — a Christian communion of which comparatively few people 
have ever heard ; the other has overrun the English-speaking world. 

Thus according to the faith of each was it done unto him. White- 
field accepted the Gospel as God's plan to save a few, and to him 
was given a small spiritual family in the Lord. Wesley saw in the 
Gospel a plan to save the many, and his spiritual household, like that 
of Abraham, has become as the stars of heaven for multitude. 

If there ever were a notable victim of the small theology of John 
Calvin, George Whitefield was that man. Doubtless he and the two 
Wesleys were made to work together. There was just that diversity 
of gifts which might have made these three men the three determina- 
tive points in the evangeKcal circle that should have encompassed the 
whole earth ; but before this circle could be fairly projected, as in a 
Httle while it would have been, that deceiver who spoils so much of 
the good that lies within the reach of human liands sepaiated these 
three chief friends by the only conceivable method by which he could 
have accomjDlished his infernal purpose. 

It is a pitiful spectacle to see a great revivalist, with two nations 
waiting on his ministrations, wielding the powers of the world to come, 
and bringing sinners by multitudes to salvation — to see such a man 
turned from the work of preaching the Gospel to the fruitless and 
foolish task of setting forth what one of the great Calvinistic di^dnes 
calls " the secret wiU of God." 

Has Jehovah from all eternity determined to save just so many of 
the human race, and to pass by all the rest ? 

Whitefield answers, " Yes." Wesley answers, " No." 

" But," says Whitefield, " God teaches, my friends, that election is 



Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

'' And God teaches me to preach and print against it," answers 

Alas, for the estrangement of these apostoHc men ! If they had 
lived in om- day, the one would have seen his "opinions," along with 


Other rubbish of the same sort, thrust into out-of-the-way corners in 
the libraries of theological seminaries, while the other would have dis- 
covered that it is possible for Calvinists and Arminians to preach and 
pray harmoniously together, simply by keeping to the things which ai'e 

The Calvestistic Conteoveesy. 195 

plainly laid down in the Gospel, and leaving all mere inferences 
thereon to take their own chances of living or dying. 

liacly Hniitiiig^don. — Among the distinguished persons who 
were led to a true faith in Christ through the labors of the Oxford 
Methodists was Selina, the Countess of Huntingdon. 

During a severe illness she had been led to consecrate herself to the 
Lord, and on her recovery she faithfully fulfilled her promise by a long 
life of benevolence and devotion. Tlirough the influence of her sister- 
in-la^v, Lady Margaret Hastings, afterward the wife of Ingham, of the 
Holy Club, Lady Selina became attached to the Methodists, and al- 
tliough she was an enthusiastic Churchwoman, a member of the 
aristocracy, and could even boast of having royal blood in her veins, 
she became, greatly to the disgust of the Earl, her husband, a frequent 
attendant of the Moravian Societies in London. 

On Mr. Wesley's sejDaration from the Fetter Lane Society she 
attached herself to his party, and invited him to preach in her house ; 
but when Wesley and Whitefield fell out, because of their differences 
in theology, Lady Huntingdon, being a Calvinist, sided with White- 
field, and at length by her munificent gifts, as well as on account of 
her piety and talents, she became the acknowledged head of a little 
sect of Methodists who did not beheve in free grace. 

After the rupture between Wesley and his pupil, Whitefield had 
caused a Tabernacle to be erected for his own use not far from 
Mr. Wesley's Foundry ; an arrangement well calculated to promote all 
sorts of ill will between these former friends, and the two congrega- 
tions of their respective followers ; but the Countess, who appears to 
liave had almost a controlling influence with Whitefield — whom she 
afterward appointed one of her chaplains — induced him to seek for a 
reconciliation with Wesley, and in consequence thereof the breach was 
healed. The two men held a union service at Whitefield's Tabernacle, 
at which the Lord's Supper was celebrated by over a thousand com- 
municants ; and the brotherly love thus restored bound their hearts 
together to the day of their death. Sometimes the old fire would 
suddenly blaze up for a moment, when they began to talk of their 
respective " opinions," but AVhitefield would smother it with his 
favorite saying, " Well, brother, let us agree to disagree." 

After her husband's death the Countess devoted herself wholly to 

196 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

a religious life : her house, at Chelsea, near London, became the head- 
quarters of a revival movement among the nobilitj ; many ladies of 
rank were converted ; meetings for prayer and the reading of the 
Scriptures were held at their mansions, and some of the leading men 
of the kingdom occasionally attended the preaching of "Whitefield, 
both at his Tabernacle and at the house of his patroness. Only a very 
few of them could be persuaded to renounce the world, the flesh, and 
the devil ; but they were all agreed that Lady Huntingdon's young 
chaplain was the most wonderful preacher they had ever heard. 

This elect lady not only devoted herseK, her time, and her influ- 
ence to God, but, what was more rare, her ample fortune also. She 
sold her country-seats, her jewels, her elegant equipages, and other 
appendages of a fashionable and titled lady, and devoted the proceeds 
to the purchase of theaters, halls, and dilapidated chapels, which she 
caused to be fitted up for public worship conducted by some of her 

Trevecca College. — In order to provide a ministry for these 
chapels, Lady Huntingdon erected a theological school at Trevecca, in 
Wales, and called to its presidency the saintly Fletcher, Yicar of 

Here any young man, who was truly converted and ready to give 
himseK to the work of preaching the Gospel, might receive board, 
tuition, and one suit of clothes a year, all at the college's expense. At 
first no theological tests were imposed ; but afterward, as the Calvin- 
istic controversy grew hotter and more bitter, the school was made so 
strictly an institution of the elect that no believer in free grace could 
be either a teacher or a pupil therein. Fletcher, on this account, 
resigned his charge of the school, which, as might have been expected, 
never rose above mediocrity. 

During her life the Countess is said to have bestowed more than 
half a million of dollars in works of religion and charity, and at her 
death, in her eighty-fourth year, June 17, 1791, she bequeathed twenty 
thousand dollars for special benefactions, and the remainder of her 
fortune she devoted to the support of the sixty-four chapels which she 
had helped to build in England, Ireland, and Wales. 

Like Wesley, Lady Huntingdon was greatly attached to the Estab- 
lished Church, but in order to retain the control of the chapels which 

The Calvinistic Contkoversy. 


she had built she was forced to avail herseK of the Act of Toleration, 
and thus these chapels became Dissenting meeting-houses, in which 
her Episcopalian friends would no longer preach or worship. After 
her death all connection between them was dissolved, and, instead of 
a httle system, they became so many independent chapels. 

It was from this fate of Lady Huntingdon's party, which Wesley, 
from the first, was able to foresee, that he constantly strove to save 
himseK and his connection. If he had been wilhng to avail himself of 
the Act of Toleration his Societies would have been protected thereby ; 


but they would have thereby become Dissenting bodies, which, of all 
things, Wesley dreaded. He taught the Methodists to claim their places 
as regular members of the Established Church, and to hold their rela- 
tions to the United Societies as a secondary matter, not involving their 
ecclesiastical status, but merely a provisional arrangement for helping 
their growth in grace ; therefore they were without protection as 
Dissenters, and without influence as members of the Establishment, 

198 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

and their jDersons and their property were for niauy years subject to 
the mercy of any mob, magistrate, or High-Church jDarson whom 
Satan might stir uj) to torment them. 

Class-Meetiiig'S. — Like every other step in the progress of early 
Methodism, the establisliment of '• classes " was plainly providential. 

The number of members in Wesley's United Societies had now 
greatly increased. That at the Foundry contained, in the year 1742, 
about eleven hundred members. There was also a large Society at 
Bristol, and many smaller ones scattered over England and Wales. In 
th'e county of Yorkshire alone there were sixty Societies, which had 
been established by Wesley's companion in Georgia, who shortly after- 
ward joined the Moravians, and soon faded out of sight. Hitherto, 
Wesley and his brother, with some little assistance from the other 
Oxford Methodists, had exercised a pastoral oversight over these Soci- 
eties, but in February, 17-42, an accident led to an important addition 
to the simple Methodist system. 

In the erection of the " Xew Room " at Bristol, the first of all the 
Wesleyan preaching houses, a large debt had been incurred, and on 
the date above mentioned some of the principal members of the Bristol 
Society met together to consult how to raise the money to pay it. 
One of them stood up and said, " Let every member of the Society 
give a j)enny a week till the debt is j^aid." Another answered, 
" Many of them are poor, and cannot afford to do it." " Then," said 
the former, " put eleven of the poorest with me ; and if they can give 
any thing, well ; I will call on them weekly ; and if they can give 
nothing, I will give for them as well as for myself. And each of you 
call on eleven of your neighbors weekly ; receive what they give, and 
make up what is wanting." " It was done," writes Wesley ; " and in 
awhile, some of these informed me they found such and such an one 
did not live as he ought. It struck me immediately, ' This is the 
thing, the very thing, we have wanted so long.' " 

Accordingly he called together these weekly collectors of money 
to pay the debt of the Bristol Chapel, and desired each, in addition to 
collecting money, to make jDarticular inquiry into the behavior of the 
members whom they visited. Tliey did so. Many disorderly walkers 
were detected ; and thus ''he Society was purged of unworthy 

Class Meetus^gs. 199 

"Within six weeks after this, on Marcli 25, Wesley introduced the 
same plan in London, where he had long found it difficult to become 
acquainted with all the members personally. He requested several 
earnest and sensible men to meet him, to whom he explained his diffi- 
culty. They all agreed, that to come to sure, thorough knowledge of 
each member, there could be no better way than to divide the Society 
into classes, like those at Bristol. "Wesley at once appointed as leaders 
those in whom he could most confide ; and thus, in three years after 
their first organization, the United Societies were regularly divided 
into classes. 

At first the leaders visited each member of their classes at their own 
houses ; but for convenience it was presently arranged that the class 
should assemble once a week, at a time and place most convenient for 
the whole, the time being spent chiefly in conversing with those 
present, one by one, the leader beginning and ending each meeting 
with singing and prayer. 

Thus class meetings began. Wesley writes : " It can scarce be 
conceived what advantages have been reaped by this little prudential 
regulation. Many now experienced that Christian fellowship of which 
they had not so much as an idea before. They began to bear one 
another's burdens, and naturally to care for each other's welfare. 
And as they had daily a more intimate acquaintance, so they 
had a more endeared affection for each other. "Upon reflection I 
could not but observe this is the very thing which was from the 
beginning of Christianity, As soon as any Jews or heathen were so 
convinced of the truth as to forsake sin and seek the gospel of salva- 
tion, the first preachers immediately joined them together ; took an 
account of their names ; advised them to watch over each other ; and 
met these catechumens^ as they were then called, apart froin the great 
congregation, that they might instruct, rebuke, exhort, and pray M-ith 
them and for them according to their several necessities," 

The l|iiarterly Tisitatioii, or the " Quarterly Meeting," 
as it is usually called in America, was another providential method 
developed by the circumstances and necessities of the early Methodist 
Societies. The appointment of leaders over the classes devolved upon 
Mr. Wesley, but the difficulty of finding suitable persons in sufficient 
numbers induced him to arrange to meet the classes himself, if 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

possible, as often as four times a year. The performance of this duty 
made him, of necessity, an itinerant, and from tliis time to almost the 
day of his death John Wesley was the greatest traveler in the United 
Kino-dom. As the number of the Societies increased, it became 
impossible for him to meet all the classes himself, and thus the duty 
was devolved upon his helpers, but the coming of the preacher, 
who, if he was not Wesley himself was his personal representative, 


was regarded as an important event in the life of the simple-minded 
people of which the first Societies were chiefly composed ; and this 
quarterly visitation became one of the strongest bonds by wliicli the 
Societies were held together. 

Wesley at Newcastle. — In the year 1742 Mr. Wesley 
extended his missionary journeys into the nortli of England, and on 
the 2Stli of May reached the smoky metropolis of ]S'ewcastle-upon- 
Tjne, where, even after his Kingswood experiences, he was greatly 

Wesley at Newcastle. 


shocked at the degradation and wickedness of the people. Drunken- 
ness and swearing were habitual, and even the mouths of the little 
children were filled with oaths and curses. 

On Sunday morning, at seven o'clock, Wesley and his traveling 
companion, John Taylor, took their stand in Sandgate, the poorest 
and most abandoned part of the town, and began to sing the Old 
Hundredth Psalm. Presently the people began to come together to see 
what was the matter, and about the time Wesley had finished his 

0KP^A^-^uusE wesleyax scuools, Newcastle. 

(On the site of the old Orphan House.) 

preaching, which followed the singing, he had a congregation of from 
tM^elve to fifteen hundred persons, some of whom he declares to have 
been the worst and most profane of any barbarians he had ever 
addressed. Concerning the profanity of this people it was said " they 
used the language as though they had received a liberal education in 
the regions of woe." Wesley's text on this occasion was, '" He was 
wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities : 
the chastisement of our peace was upon him ; and with his stripes we 
are healed." 

202 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

AVlieii the service was ended the people stood gaping with aston- 
ishment, upon which the preacher said : "• If you desire to know who 
I am, my name is John AVesley. At live in the evening, with God's 
help, I design to preach here again." 

At five o'clock he again took his stand on the hill opposite Keel- 
man's Hospital,* while just before him swarmed the denizens of 
Sandgate and the crowded alleys by the river Tyne. In Moorfields 
and Kennington Common "Wesley had preached to congregations 
estimated at from ten to twenty thousand people, but on this occasion 
he preached to the largest as well as to the wildest crowd he had ever 
seen, who listened to him respectfully, and after the preaching pressed 
upon him for a nearer view, or perhaps a shake of the hand, and were, 
as he says, "ready to tread him under foot out of pure love and 

From this time forth Newcastle became one of the strongholds of 
Methodism. Here "Wesley formed a society, which he calls " a wild, 
staring, loving society," and here he also opened a second school, some- 
what after the manner of the one at Kingswood, in which forty poor 
children were to be taught ; the scholars as well as the teachers to be 
selected by himself and his brother. There was also a provision for 
supporting a small number of orphans, from whence the school 
derived its popular name, " The Newcastle Orphanage." 

Tf^esley Preaching on His Father's Tonib.f — In June 
of this year Mr. Wesley made a visit to his old home at Epworth. The 
parish clergyman was a miserable man of dissolute habits, who hated 
the Methodists with all his might, and on the appearance of their 
leader in his parish he poured out his wrath against them in two dis- 
courses which Wesley describes as two of the bitterest and vilest 
sermons he ever heard. He was desirous of preaching to his old neigh- 
bors, and, being shut out of the church, he resolved to preach in the 
church-yard — a proceeding proper enough on general principles, but a 
plain breach of the law of the Prayer Book — and taking his stand upon 
the broad, low platform which marked the grave of his father, he 
preached with wonderful power tu the cruwds that gathered about him. 

* " Keelman " is Newcastle-English for " bargeman ; " this class of persons being very 
numerous at Xewcastle, where they are employed on the heavy boats or barges used in 
transporting coal. f See beginning of chapter. 

Wesley Pre aching on his Father's Tomb. 203 

During the week of liis visit to Epworth lie preached from this 
strange pulpit every day. On one occasion his voice was drowned 
by the cries of the penitents ; several persons dropped down as if they 
had been dead, and the quiet old church-yard was turned into an 
"inquiry-room," in which many sinners found peace with God, and 
which then resounded with songs of joy, thanksgiving, and praise. 

John Whitelamb, "Wesley's brother-in-law, at that time the curate at 
Wroote, who heard him preach at Epworth, says, in writing to him : — 

" Your presence creates an awe, as if you were an inhabitant of 
another world." 


(From Tyeniian's "Lite ami Times of Wesley.") 

But Epworth was, of old, a place given to rehgious persecution, 
and no wonder that among the descendants of j)eople who could burn 
the house of their clergjonan at midnight because they did not like 
his j)ohtics, some should be found who would annoy a Methodist 
because they did not like his religion. 

There were a good many conversions among the E^^woi'th sinners, 
but some of them were not allowed to live in peace. On one occasion a 
whole wagon load of them were arrested and carried before a magistrate. 

204 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

" With what offense are these people charged 'i " asked the squire. 

" They pretend to be better than other people," said one of their 

" And they pray from morning till night," said another. 

" They have converted my wife," said another ; but he added, as a 
oTudging admission of the truth, " till she went among them she had 
such a tongue, but now she is as quiet as a lamb." 

" Take them back," said the justice, " take them back, and let them 
convert all the scolds in town." 

Death of 5Irs. Wesley. — After the death of his father, John 
Weslev, like a dutiful and affectionate son, assumed the support of his 
mother, and on the completion of the repairs at the Foundry removed 
her to a comfortable home which he had fitted up therein. The 
incident concerning her defense of young Maxfield, the lay preacher, 
shows that she took an active interest in the affairs of the Society; 
and the constant presence of such a woman at the head-quarters of 
Methodism could not fail to be of great advantage. 

Soon after his visit to Epworth Wesley heard that his mother was 
seriously ill, and hastened home, only to find her just on the borders 
of heaven. 

Her death and bm-ial are thus recorded in his Journal, under date 
of Friday, July 23, 1743 :— 

" About three in the afternoon I went to see my mother, and 
found her change was near. I sat down on the bedside ; she was in 
her last conflict, unable to speak, but I believe quite sensible. Her 
look was calm and serene, and her eyes fixed upward, while we 
commended her soul to God. From three to fom- the silver cord was 
loosing, and the wheel breaking at the cistern ; and then, without any 
stiTitro-le. or siffh, or sroan. her soul was set at hbertv. "We stood 
round the bed, and fulfilled her last request, uttered a little before she 
lost her speech, ' Children, as soon as I am released, sing a psalm of 
praise to God.' 

" Sunday, August 1. Almost an innumerable company of people 
being gathered together, about five in the afternoon I committed to 
the earth the body of my mother, to sleep with her fathers. The 
portion of Scripture from which I afterward spoke was, 'I saw a 
great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth 

Death of Mrs. Wesley. 


and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. 
And I saw the dead small and great stand before God, and the books 
were opened. And the dead were judged out of those things which 
were written in the books according to their works.' It was one of 
the most solemn assemblies I ever saw, or expect to see, on this side 
eternity. We set up a plain stone at the head of her grave, inscribed 
with the following words : — 





The place of Mrs. Wesley's burial was at Bunhill-Fields, now in 
the midst of that vast aggregation of towns, called London ; a place 
which is also memorable as containing the tomb of John Bunyan. 

Mrs. Wesley's New Tomb. — In the year 1869 an appeal 
was made to the "boys of England," in the columns of one of the 

206 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

English religious papers, for funds to restore the tomb of Daniel 
De Foe, whose body also lies in Bunhill-Fields. Shortly afterward a 
similar appeal appeared in the Methodist Recorder to the " Mothers 
and Daughters of Methodism," to erect a suitable monument over 
the grave of Susannah Wesley, " the mother of the Revs. John and 
Charles Wesley ; the former of whom Mas, under God, the Founder 
of the Societies of the people called Methodists." This appeal met 
with a hearty response, and the monument has been erected; not, 
however, in the Bunhill-Fields' Burial Ground, but on a much more 
eligible site, in front of the City-road Chapel, and immediately adjoin- 
ing the house in which her most distinguished son lived and died. 
The inscription is as follows : — 



Widow of the Rev. Samuel Wesley, M. A., 

(late kector of epworth, in lixcolxshire.) 

who died jult 23, 1742, 

aged 73 years. 

8he was the youngest daughter of the 

rev. samuel annesley, d.d.. ejected by the act 

op uniformity from the rectory of st. giles's, 

cripplegate, aug. 24. 1662. 

she was the mother of nineteen children, 

of whom the most eminent were the 









The Black Country. — The southern section of the county 
of Staffordshire, between TVolverhampton and Birmingliam, known 
as " The Bhick Country," is notable in Methodist history as the scene 
of some of the most violent jDersecutions. 

In 1743 Charles "Wesley made a preaching tour through these 
almost infernal regions, in which akeady there had been a considerable 
awakening. At "Wednesbury he found a society of more than three 
hundred members, many of whom had been reformed from the 
wildest and wickedest ways of life, but the to^vn was full of people 
who raged against the movement hke untamed beasts of the forest. 

He had need of courage who should venture to preach under the 
auspices of this Society. But Charles Wesley was a brave man. 
Moi-eover, the success of his brother and Mr. AYhitetield in open-air 
preaching, and the evndent favor of the Lord which had attended 
these efforts, had converted him to that idea ; and now there was no 
more courageous opcn-;iir preacher in England than the High-cliurcli, 


poetical Charles Wesley. Having met liis brother at AV ednesburj, 
he determined to preach in the neighboring town of AValsaJ, and 
a considerable number of the brethren formed a procession with 
"Wesley at their head and marched thitlier, singing as they went, wliile 
the rabble hooted at them as they passed through the streets. 

Charles Wesley took his stand on the steps of the Walsal Market- 
house, with the faithful Wednesbury Society about him. Presently 
a mob was raised, which bore down upon the Httle company Hke a 
flood, with the intention of sweeping them away. Finding that the 
Methodists were inchned to stand their ground, the mob next com- 
menced to throw stones, many of which struck the preacher, but 
failed to stop his discourse. When he was near the close thereof, the 
surging multitude pressed so hard upon him as to push him from his 
platform; he, however, regained his feet in time to save himself 
from being trampled to death, and stretched out his hands to pro- 
nounce the benediction, when he was again thrown down. A third 
time he regained his position and proceeded to return thanks, as was 
his custom, after which he passed through the midst of the rioters, 
who were raging on every hand, but, strangely enough, no one laid a 
hand upon liim. 

From Walsal Charles Wesley proceeded to Sheffield, where, he 
says, " Hell from beneath was moved to oppose us." The house in 
which he was preaching being in danger of destruction by the mob, 
in order to save the house he announced that he would preach out of 
dooi-s; whereupon the crowd followed him to the place chosen for 
this purpose, and he finished his sermon under a shower of stones. 

After preaching he returned to the Methodist house where he 
had been entertained, which was also used as a preaching place, and 
here the mob continued their violence through the whole night. 
Wesley would have gone out to meet them, in order to save the home 
of his friend from destruction, but he was not permitted to do so, lest 
it should cost him his life. The rabble raged all night, and by morn- 
ing they had pulled down one end of the house, but no personal injury 
was received either by Mr. Wesley or his friends. 

This disgraceful tumult he ascribes to the sermons which were 
preached against the Methodists by the clergy of the Sheffield 

Stormy Days for Methodism. 


One would suppose that after such experiences Charles Wesley- 
would have been ready to shake off the dust of his feet against 
the town of Sheffield, and depart to more peaceful scenes; but 
the next morning he began his preaching again at five o'clock, and 
later in the day held another out-door service in the very heart of the 
town, on returning from which he passed the ruins of the little Meth- 
odist chapel, whereof hardly one stone remained upon another. Again 
the mob surrounded his lodging-place at night, and threatened to tear 

(Wesley at Wediiesbury.) 

down the dwelling, which was already partially destroyed, but lie 
tells us that he was much fatigued, and dropped to sleep with th:.t 
word, " Scatter thou the people that delight in war." 

Charles "Wesley often acknowledged himself to be constitution- 
ally a timid man ; but there was nothing he feared so much as tu 
offend liis own conscience; and under the inspiration of duty this 
lamb became a lion, wholly insensible to fear by reason of tlie 


210 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

overmastering religions fervor which Hfted him above all sense of 
what the world calls danger. 

It was no unnsual experience for the TVesleys to find a mob 
waiting for them on their arrival at the various towns on their route ; 
indeed, a peaceable quarterly visitation in the Black Country, or 
Cornwall, was regarded as rather an exception to the rule. On one 
occasion, while preaching in the chapel at St. Ives, the place was 
attacked by the mob, its windows smashed in, its seats torn up, and 
the fragments borne away, with the shutters, poor-box, and all but the 
stone walls. Wesley bade the people stand still and see the salvation 
of God, resolving to continue with them until the end of the strife. 
After raging about an hour, the ruffians fell to quarrehng among 
themselves, broke the head of the town clerk, who was their captain, 
and drove one another out of the room. Having kept the field, 
the Society gave thanks for the victory. "The word of God nms 
and is glorified," writes "Wesley, " but the devil rages horribly." 

The converted miners were as fearless in duty as they had been 
in fights and brawls. Wesley says, " I cannot find one of this people 
who fears those that can kill the body only." Hereby some of their 
bitterest persecutors were conquered, or won by their meek endurance, 
and became standard-bearers of the cross among them. 

Similar assaults were made in other places. At Poole a drunken 
hearer attempted to drag the preacher from his stand, and a church- 
warden, heading the rabble, drove him and his congregation out of the 
parish. The Church record bears to this day an entry of the score at 
the village inn of drinks furnished to the mob "for driving out 
the Methodists." A strong man behind Wesley aimed several blows 
with a heavy club at his head, but they were all turned aside, Wesley 
says he knew not how. He was struck a powerful blow on the chest, 
and another on the mouth, making the blood gush forth ; but he 
declares he felt no more pain from cither than if he had merely 
been touched with a straw. The noise on every side, he says, was 
Hke a roaring sea. Some cried, " Knock his brains out ! " " Down 
with him ! " " Kill him ! " " Crucify him ! " Others shouted, " Xo, 
let us hour him first!" And while they were thus disputing among 
themselves whether to hear liim or kill him, Wesley broke out in loud 
supplication, which prayer was suddenly answered by Him who 

Stormy Days for Methodism. 211 

holdeth the hearts of all men in his hand, and the ruffian that headed 
the mob, and who was a professional prize-fighter, was suddenly struck 
with awe and tenderness, and when "Wesley had reached the " Amen," 
this fellow turned to him and said : — 

" Sir, I will spend my life for you ; follow me, and not one soul 
here shall touch a hair of your head." Then a stout butcher cried out 
that he also would stand by him, and several others at once rallied for 
his protection, before whom the people fell back as if by common 
consent, and, led on through their open ranks by these heaven-sent 
champions, Wesley passed safely through the midst of the mob, and 
escaped to his lodgings unharmed. 

As in Sheffield, so in Wednesbury and elsewhere, the clergy and 
the magistrates favored the mob : the former instigated it, and the 
latter refused to suppress it. The Methodists of the town had already 
endured intolerable wrongs. "Women and children had been knocked 
down and dragged in the gutters of the streets ; their houses had been 
attacked, their windows and furniture demolished ; and so worthless 
was the jDohce of that day that the rioters were accustomed to 
assemble at the blowing of a horn, and virtually usurped the control 
of the town for nearly half a year. 

It was in view of these sufferings on the part of his people, of 
which his younger brother had had such a rough experience, that John 
Wesley presented himself in the Black Country to face the fury of 
his enemies. God was evidently with him, proving again the truth of 
the declaration that he is able to make the wrath of man to praise 
him, and the remainder he will restrain. Doubtless it was the swift 
answer to Wesley's prayer that turned the hearts of the leaders of the 
mob, so that from desiring to kill him they were ready to die in 
defending him ; for on no other theory can this sudden change of 
feeling and purpose be explained. 

From Wednesbury Wesley went to ]^ottingham, where his brother 
Charles was preaching. " He looked," says the latter, " like a soldier 
of Christ : his clothes were torn to tatters." 

Wesley and the Methodists Denounced as Papists 
and Traitors. — These were, indeed, stormy days for Methodism. 
But the storm had not yet reached its height. 

On the 15th of November, 17Y4, King George sent a message to 

212 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

the House of Parliament, saviuo^ that he had received intelligence that 
the oldest son of the Pretender, that is to say, the heir of the papist 
King James II. had arrived in France, and that preparations were 
there being made to invade England and place this scion of the house 
of Stuart upon the throne. Great excitement followed. War was 
declared against France, the coast was watched with the utmost care, 
all the mihtarj forces were ordered to the posts of duty, the Habeas 
Corpus act was suspended, and a proclamation was issued for a general 

All papists and reputed papists were forbidden to remain within 
ten miles of the cities of Westminster and London. Loyal addresses 
were presented to the King by the L^ni versifies of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, by the merchants of London, by the convocation of the prov- 
ince of Canterbury, by the Quakers, by the Protestant Dissenters, and 
by many others ; but there is no account of any loyal address being 
presented by the Methodists ; they being so small a body as yet, such 
an action would have seemed ridiculous. For this or some other 
equally foolish reason rumors began to prevail that the Methodist 
preachers were plotting to aid the house of Stuart, and all sorts of 
calumnies against them flew over the land. It was reported that 
Wesley had held an inter^-iew with the Pretender in France : that he 
had been taken up for high treason ; that he was safe in prison awaiting 
execution. It was also declared that he was a Jesuit, and kept a sort 
of head-quarters for Pomish priests in his house at London. Spain, 
being a papist country, was expected to aid the fortunes of the house 
of Stuait, and Wesley was said to have received large remittances of 
money from thence, in order to raise a body of twenty thousand men 
to aid the expected S])anish invasion. Other slanders followed, which 
accused him of being an Anabaptist, a Quaker, a malefactor who had 
been prosecuted for selling gin, and Anally, it was alleged that the 
genuine John Wesley had hanged himself and was dead and buried, 
and the •* John Wesley '' wlio was figuring in politics was merely a 
pretender : all of which reports found ready believers among jDcople 
M'ho desired a reason for hating the Methodists. 

The favorite accusation against Wesley was that he was a disguiset^l 
papist, and an agent of the Pretender; and when the proclamation 
was made requiring all Roman Catholics to leave London, Wesley was 

Stormy Days for Methodism. 213 

actually summoned by the Justices of Surrey to appear before their 
court, and required to take the oath of allegiance to the King, and to 
sign the declaration against popery. His brother Charles was heard 
on a certain occasion, in a public prayer, to beseech the Lord to " call 
home his banished ones," which, it was insisted, must mean the house 
of the Stuarts. On this account he was indicted, and brought before 
the magistrates in Yorkshire, where he succeeded in explaining the 
purely scriptural meaning of the phrase, and was allowed to go about 
his business. 

These were carnival days for the rabble : ahnost any violence was 
excusable if it were done under the pretense of fighting the friends of 
the Stuarts— a convenient pretense, and certain to be misused. In 
Staffordshire the Methodists were assailed on this ground, not only in 
their preaching places, but in the streets and at their homes. Houses 
were broken into, furniture destroyed and thrown into the streets, 
and w^omen and children were abused in a manner which, Wesley 
says, was too horrible to be related. Sometimes the Methodist houses 
were torn down, and every thing which they contained was carried 
away, the mob helping themselves to the things which pleased them 
best, no one offering the slightest resistance. Men and women fled 
for their lives ; in some cases leaving their children behind them. 
Many of the townspeople, too, were in such terror of the mob that 
they were actually afraid to receive these little homeless wanderers 
into their houses because they were Methodist children. The mob 
divided into several bands, and marched from village to village, and 
the whole region was in a state little short of civil war. 

Some of the " gentlemen " who had incited these outrages threat- 
ened to turn away the colliers and miners in their service if they 
showed any sympathy for the Methodists, and finally drew up a paper 
for the members of the Societies to sign, pledging themselves never to 
invite or receive a Methodist preacher again, on which condition it 
was promised that the mob should be checked at once ; otherwise they 
were given to understand that they must take their own chances. 
This infamous pledge w^as offered to several members of Societies, 
but the faithful believers declared that, having lost their goods, 
nothing else could follow but the loss of their lives, which they were 
willing to lose rather than to wrong their consciences. 

214 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

W'esley Faces his Enemies. — AYhat was the surprise and 
indignation of Mr. "Wesley to find these outrages described in the 
London newspapers as perpetrated by the Methodists, who, " upon 
some pretended insults from the Church paily, had risen in insurrec- 
tion against the Government !" He at once hastened from London to 
sustain the persecuted Societies in the riotous districts, for it was his 
i-ule " always to face the mob." At Dudley, one of the mining towns, 
he learned that the lay preacher of the station had been greatly abused 
at the instigation of the parish minister, and would probably have 
been murdered had not an honest Quaker loaned him his broad- 
brimmed hat and plain coat, in which disguise he managed to escape. 
One of the magistrates refused to hear a Methodist who came to take 
oath that his life was in danger. Another delivered a member of the 
Society up to the mob, and, waving his hand over his head, shouted : 
" Hurrah, boys I well done I stand up for the Church ! " 

On this memorable tour Wesley cheered and steadied the Socie- 
ties, and, taking his stand in the public squares of those towns where 
there had been the greatest violence, he boldly preached the truth to 
them. These services, performed in the immediate danger of his life, 
he describes in his Jom-nal as " taming the mobs." " The rocks," he 
says, " were melted on every side, and the very ringleaders declared 
that they would make no more disturbance." 

At E^Jworth, where the old persecuting spirit still raged, he found 
his preacher, Thomas Westall, who had been driven away from j^ot- 
tingham by the mob and the Mayor. As he passed through the town 
of Birstal, in Yorkshire, he came upon the mob as they were tearing 
down the house of John Xelson, the sturdy Methodist preacher, of 
whom we shall see more in due time. The cowardly rabble fled on 
the approach of Wesley and his companions, who advanced upon them 
with no other weapons than some Methodist hymns, which they were 
singing right lustily. 

The storm, meanwhile, had reached Cornwall, also. The chapel at 
St. Ives was entirely destroyed, and on his arrival there "Wesley was 
saluted with shouts, and stones, and rubbish. Concerning the Meth- 
odists of St. Just, another Cornwall parish, he says : " They were the 
chief of the whole country for hurling, fighting, di'inking, and all 
manner of wickedness : bat many of the lions have become lambs, 

Stormy Days for Methodism. 215 

and are continually praising God, and calling their old companions in 
sin to come and magnify the Lord together." Thus was illustrated, 
over and over again, the truth of the apostle's words, "Where sin 
abounded grace did much more aboimd." * 

These are but a few of the outrages endured by the Methodists 
during this British craze over the expected invasion of the papist 
Pretender ; but to their everlasting honor be it spoken, none of these 
things moved them ; and, what is more a matter of wonder, this 
senseless persecution, instigated by the clergy and winked at by the 
magistrates, did not drive them from their loyalty either to the Church 
or the King. If they had only been willing to become Dissenters 
they would have been at peace ; but they were continually urged by 
the "VVesleys to continue faithful to the Estabhshment, and there 
was no redress for them, in view of their irregularities, except under 
the common law, which, in those days as well as in these, was a luxury 
that poor people could ill afford, and which then, as now, was apt to 
cost a great deal more than it was worth. 

As a specimen of the justice administered in England in those 
times take the following : One Edward Greenfield, a tinner of the 
parish of St. Just, in Cornwall, was arrested under a warrant issued 
by Dr. Borlase, one of the clerical magistrates, and Mr. Wesley, 
hearing thereof, presented himself before the court and demanded of 
what offense the man had been guilty. 

" The man is well enough in other things," was the reply ; " but 
gentlemen cannot bear his impudence. Why, sir, he says he knows 
his sins are forgiven ! " 

Such " impudence " as this in a poor workingman was doubtless a 
sore offense in the eyes of the " gentlemen," who had good reason to 
know their sins were not forgiven ; but for a magistrate and a clergy- 
man to throw a poor man into prison on such a charge indicates a 
degree of bigotry and tyranny of which, in these days, it is almost 
impossible to conceive. 

The Press-gang. — Among the beauties of the British govern- 
ment in those times was the " press-gang," by which His Majesty's 
army and navy were forcibly recruited in times of war — and there 
used to be war almost all the time. It was lawful to seize, for service 
* See Stevens's " History of Methodism," voL i. 

216 Illustrated History of Metiiodisaf. 

in the navy, any able-bodied seaman between the ages of eighteen and 
forty-tive : and for this purpose small detachments of trusty tars, with 
an officer at their head, were accustomed to prowl around the haunts 
of the sailors on shore, and carry ofi their prisoners to the man-of-war 
lying at anchor in the river or bay, A modified form of this indignity 
was sometimes practiced to capture recruits for the army. A vagrant 
might be impressed for a soldier, if he could not give a satisfactory 
account of himself, and under this pretext it became a favorite means 
of persecuting the Methodist lay preachers to arrest them as strolling 
vagabonds, having no visible means of support, and thrust them into 
the vilest dungeon to be found, to await the arrival of some regiment, 
into which they were impressed to serve in the rank and file. An 
officer, with his posse, would even break through an out-door con- 
gregation, seize the preacher, drag him ofl: to prison, and hold him as 
a pressed man, from which durance vile he could only escape by the 
payment of a fine, or ransom of forty pounds. 

The *• AVestminster Journal" for June 8, 1T45, narrates that a 
noted Methodist preacher named Tolly had been pressed for a soldier 
in Staffordshire, and had appeared before the magistrates, attended by 
many of his " deluded followers of both sexes, who pretended he was 
a learned and holy man ; and yet it appeared he was only a journey- 
man joiner, and had done great mischief among the colhers." The 
poor, luckless joiner was, therefore, coupled to a sturdy tinker, 
and sent off to Stafford jail. He had already been impressed once 
before, and the Methodists had subscribed £40 to obtain liis free- 
dom, and were intending to repeat the kindness ; but the editor 
of the "Westminster Journal" hopes that the magistrates will 
be proof against golden bribes ; for " such wretches are incendiaries 
in a nation." 

Caught in his Own Trap. — One of Wesley's preachers 
named Drew was, however, of a less placid temper than his leader. 
While travehng his circuit, in Devonshire, he was interrupted in one 
of his open-air sermons in the hamlet of Saddiport by the appear- 
ance of a rabble headed by a magistrate named Stevens, who ordered 
the parish clerk to pull the preacher down from the chair which 
served him for a pulpit. The clerk, more sensible than the magis- 
trate, was unwilHng to obey the order, and said: "Let liim alone, 

Stormy Days for METiioDisir. 


sir ; let him preach it out." But Stevens's churchly blood was up, 
and, iinding the clerk would not serve him, he executed the order 
himself, and dragged the preacher to the ground. 

The poor man was now at the mercj of the mob, who began to 
push him toward the mouth 
of an old quarry pit near 
by, the magistrate all the 
while urging them on ; and 
when they came to the pit, 
Drew, iinding that he must 
inevitably be flung into it, 
seized the magistrate by the 
skirt of his coat just as he 
was pushed over the edge, 
and both were precipitated 
into the depths below ; from 
Avhich they scrambled out 
ccratched and bruised, the 
magistrate having received 
his full share of the punish- 

An attempt was even 
made by the Cornwall par- 
son. Dr. Borlase, already 

mentioned, to impress the leader of all the Methodists, and make 
him fight the battles of King George. One day, as Wesley was 
preaching at Gwennap, two men, raging hke maniacs, rode into the 
midst of the congregation, and began to lay hold upon the people. In 
the midst of the disturbance Wesley and his friends commenced sing- 
ing ; when Dr. B. lost his patience, and bawled to his attendants : 
" Seize him ! seize him ! I say, seize the preacher for His Majesty's 
service." The attendants not moving, he cursed them with the great- 
est bitterness, leaped off his horse, caught hold of Wesley's cassock, 
crying, " I take you to serve His Majesty." Wesley made no resist- 
ance, but walked with him for three quarters of a mile ; by which time 
the courage of the valorous parson failed liim, and he was glad to 
let the arch-Methodist 2:0. 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

John Xelsoii, the Birstal preacher whose name has already 
been mentioned was one of the notable men wlio in the early days of 
the Methodist movement were called out by Mr. Wesley as helpers ; 
or who, nnder the inspiration of the Holy Spirit^ otf-ered themselves 


to him of their own accord to serve as " sons in the gospel." He was 
a stone-mason of Birstal, in Yorkshire, the son of a godly father, well 
instructed in the Scriptures, and master of his trade, the husband of a 
good wife, and blessed with outward comforts ; nevertheless, he says 
he lived a life of intolerable misery on account of liis intense convic- 
tions of sin. For years he was tormented with awful dreams by night 
and gloomy forebodings by day, till, in the bitterness of his spirit, he 
declared that he would rather be strangled than to live thirty more 
such years as the thirty he had just passed. He sought every- 
where for religious instruction, but neither the Episcopalians, the 
Presbyterians, Independents, Roman Catholics, nor Quakers, could 
point him the way to pardon and peace. 

• Stoemy Days foe Methodism. 219 

" I had now," he says, " tried all but the Jews, and I thought it 
was to no purpose to go to them." He now began to wander about 
from place to place, working a short time at his trade, and putting 
himself in the way of all the help he could hear of for his wretched 
state of mind ; but nowhere could he find rest for his miserable soul. 
When Mr. "Whitefield commenced his preaching at Moorfields he 
went to hear him. "He was to me," says Nelson, "as a man that 
could play well on an instrument, for his preaching was pleasant to 
me ; and I loved the man so that if any one had offered to disturb 
him I was ready to fight for him. I got some hope of mercy, so that 
I was encouraged to pray on and spend my leisure hours in read- 
ing the Scriptures." 

The first time that John "Wesley jDreached at Moorfields Nelson 
was present, and in his account of his conversion he says : — ■ 

" O, that was a blessed morning to my soul ! 

" As soon as he got upon the stand he stroked back his hair, and 
turned his face toward where I stood, and I thought he fixed his eyes 
upon me. His countenance struck such an awful di'ead upon me 
before I heard him speak that it made my heart beat like the pendu- 
lum of a clock, and when he did speak, I thought his whole discourse 
was aimed at me." * 

Nelson might well think this, for it was one of Wesley's peculiar 
characteristics to wind up his discourses and drive home the doctrine 
thereof with the most pointed and personal exhortations. At such 
times he spoke as if he were addressing himseK to an individual, so 
that every one whose condition he might describe felt as if he were 
singled out from all the rest, and the preacher's words, Hke the eyes 
of a portrait, seemed to look at every beholder. 

" Who art thou," he cried, " that now feelest both thine inward 
and outward ungodliness ? Thou art the man ! I want thee for my 
Lord ; I challenge thee for a child of God by faith ; the Lord hath 
need of thee. Thou who feelest that thou art just fit for hell, art just 
fit to advance his glory — the glory of his free grace. 

" Look unto Jesus ! There is the Lamb of God who taketh away 
thy sins ! Plead thou no works, no righteousness of thine own ; that 
were in very deed to deny the Lord that bought thee. No. Plead 

* Nklson's Journal. 

220 Illtstkated Histoky of Methodism. 

thou singly the blood of the covenant, the ransom paid for thy proud, 
stubborn, sinful soul." No wonder John Xelson imagined that the 
preacher had him in his eye. 

Soon after this he found rest in Christ, and so completely did he 
resign himself to the Lord that he straightway began to declare it to 
be his '* great business in this world to get well out of it." Upon 
this some of his London friends became exceeding angry at the 
preacher who had " turned John Nelson's head ;" some of them even 
vowed that they would be glad to knock Wesley's brains out, for he 
would be the ruin of many families if he were allowed to Hve and go 
on converting people after this fashion. 

Nelson was now employed on some work for the Government, 
and the foreman wished him to work on Sunday, on the plea that the 
" King's business required haste," and that it was customary to work 
on Sunday for His Majesty when they were pressed for time ; but 
Xelson stoutly declared that he would not work on Sunday for any 
man in England, unless to put out a fire or some such work of neces- 
sity or mercy. 

" Your religion has made you a rebel against the King," said the 

" No," said Nelson, " it has made me a better subject than ever I 
was. The greatest enemies the King has are the Sabbath-breakers, 
the swearers, the drunkards, and such Hke, for these puU down judg- 
ments upon both King and country." Thus the sturdy Methodist 
won the day, and lost nothing ; for his reputation for integrity was all 
the more firmly established, and his employer had now a higher regard 
for him than ever. 

The straightforwardness of the man appears in the following 
incident, related at the time, in a letter to Mr. Wesley, in which he 
gives an account of liis arrest at Nottingham, and of his being brought 
before the alderman for examination : — 

" I wonder you cannot stay at home," said his honor, " You see 
the mob wont suffer you to preach in this town," 

" I did not know this town was governed by the mob ; most towns 
are governed by the magistrates," he replied. 

" What ! do you expect us to take your part, when you take the 
people from their work ? " said the alderman. 

' Stormy Days for Methodism. 221 

" Sir, you are wrongly informed," said Nelson ; " we preach at five 
in the morning and at seven at night, and these are the hours when 
most people are in their beds in the morning, and at night either at 
the play or at the ale-house." ' 

"•' I beheve you are the cause of all the evil that has fallen upon 
the nation," said the alderman. 

" What reason have you to beheve so ? Can you prove that one 
Methodist in England did assist the rebels with either men, money, or 



"No," was the reply; "but it has been observed that there has 
always been such a people before any great evil fell on the land." 

" It hath been as you say," answered John ; " but that people was 
not the cause of the evil any more than we are at this time. But 
these mobbers, and swearers, and drunkards, and whoremongers, and 
extortioners, and lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God — these 
are the cause why God afflicteth both man and beast, not we. We 
are sent to persuade them to break o£E their sins by repentance, that 
the heavy judgments of God may not consume such a people. And 
if there be not a general reformation, God will be avenged of such a 
nation as this." 

The remainder of his remarks he does not record. But he says, 
"I opened my mouth, and I did not cease to set life and death 
before him ;" at which the poor magistrate began to shake, and the 
constable, seeing the jjass to which things were hkely to come, began 
to be uneasy, and inquired what he should do with him. 

" I think you must take him to your house," said the alderman, 
who was now intent on saving Nelson from further violence. But 
Avhen the constable declined the honor, the justice said, " You may 
go where you came from ;" whereupon he ordered the constable to 
take the preacher to the house from which he had taken him, and to 
see that the mob did him no harm ; which was a great mortification 
to the constable and a great delight to the preacher. 

This stalwart Methodist was the comrade of Wesley in one of his 
preaching tours through the county of Cornwall, of which he gives 
the following lively account : — 

" All this time Mr. Wesley and I lay on the floor ; he had my 
great-coat for his pillow, and I had Burkitt's 'Notes on the New 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

Testament' for mine. After being here nearly three weeks, one 
morning, about three o'clock, Mr. Wesley turned over, and Unding me 
awake, clapped me on the side, saying, ' Brother l^elson, let us be of 
good cheer ; I have one whole side yet, for the skin is off but one 
side.' We usually preached on the commons, going from one common 
to another, and it was but seldom any one asked us to eat or drink. 
One day we had been at St. Hilary Downs, where Mr. Wesley 
preached from Ezekiel's vision of dry bones, and there was a shaking 
among the people while he preached. As we returned Mr. Wesley 


stopped his horse to pick the blackberries, saying, ' Brother Nelson, 
we ought to be thankful that there are plenty of blackberries, for this 
is the best country I ever saw for getting a stomach, but the worst 
that ever I saw for getting food.' " 

After this Nelson traveled about the country, working at his trade 
by day and preaching by night, and by his tact and spirit proving 
himself more than a match for his adversaries, who often became his 
admiring friends. Ilis adventures form a delightful little history of 

Stoemy Days for Methodism. 223 

themselves, and liis published Journal shows him to have been a man 
of extraordinary power. On one occasion he preached at Grimsby, 
where the parish clergyman had hired a man to beat the town drum, 
and the drummer and the parson marched the streets, gathering the 
rabble together, and treating them to liquor, the better to prepare 
them to go and "fight for the Church," which meant, to break up 
the Methodist meetings; but the preaching of Nelson was so unex- 
pectedly pleasing to the mob that it kept them in decent behavior 
until the sermon was over, and then, instead of damaging the people 
as they came out of the chapel, the mob began to fight with one 
another ; thus the preacher and his hearers got safely off. 

The next day the clergyman, with his noisy lieutenant, repeated 
the experiment, but when the man of the drum came within the 
sound of Nelson's eloquence it had such a wonderful effect upon him 
that, instead of drowning the sermon with noise, the sermon was likely 
to drown him with tears, for the poor fellow stood listening while the 
tears ran down his cheeks, and forgot all about the purpose for which 
his reverend ally had brought him to the preaching. 

At a place called Pudsey, where the people were afraid to admit 
him to their houses, having heard that the constables were searching 
for him, Nelson preached sitting upon his horse in the street. From 
this he passed on to Leeds, where he remained for some time, hewing 
stone by day and preaching every night ; a double work at which his 
labors were so blessed that the Methodists of Leeds boast of him as 
their special founder and apostle. 

Xelson Impressed for a Soldier. — On reaching home at 
Birstal, after this notable preaching tour, he was warned of a plot 
against him. The ale-house keepers had complained of a loss of their 
customers in consequence of his preaching, and the parish clergyman 
was jealous of his eloquence ; these two, therefore, joined together 
to have Nelson arrested as a vagrant, on which charge, if sustained, he 
might be forced into the King's service. His examination before the 
magistrate at HaUfax, who was himself the Yicar of the parish, was 
the very height of absurdity considered as a process of law; and, 
refusing to hear any evidence in his defense, this clerical court 
ordered him to a vile and filthy dungeon at Bradford, in which 
miserable place, with no food except such as was brought him 

224 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

in charity, and with no other bed than a heap of straw, the brave 
fellow was held a prisoner in the King's name for no other offense 
than that of being too good a preacher to suit the cupidity of the 
pubUcan and the jealousy of the parson. 

Kelson's wife came to see him in this wretched den. and throuo^h 
a hole in the door she exhorted him thus : — 

'' Fear not ; the cause is God's for which you are here, and he will 
plead it himself. Be not concerned about me and the children, for he 
that feeds the young ravens will take care of us." 

'" I cannot fear either man or the devil," answered the brave 
fellow, '• so long as I find the love of God as I now do." 

The next day he was sent to Leeds, where multitudes flocked to 
see him, and hundreds of people stood in the streets and looked at him 
through the iron gate of his prison, where at night a hundred persons 
met him and joined him in the worship of God. From Leeds he was 
marched off to York, a violent anti-Methodist region, and as he was 
brought into the town under a guard of soldiers the streets and the 
windows were filled with peojjle, who shouted after him as if he had 
been a ph-ate. But he says, in his account of the occasion, •• The 
Lord made my brow hke brass, so that I could look upon them as 
grasshoppers, and pass through the street as if there had been none in 
it but God and me." 

While waitino^ at York for a chance of active soldierino- Xelson 
was put on his course of training for that new profession ; but when he 
was ordered to parade, the corporal who was commanded to gird him 
with his military trappings trembled as if he had the jDalsy. Nelson 
said he would wear these things as a cross, but would not fight, as it 
was not agreeable to his conscience, and he would not harm his con- 
science for any man on earth. Whenever he had an opportunity he 
was sure to exercise his gifts as a preacher, and so great became the 
terror of his word among the oflicers and soldiers that they feared to 
continue the abusive treatment which he had at first received, and 
before long he was allowed the same privileges as any other soldier, 
which he straightway began to use by preaching in the streets and 
fields. He was at last released by the influence of Lady Hunt- 
iiiicdon, after having: been marched about the countrv with his 
regiment for about three months, during which time he had endured 

. Stormy Days for Methodism. 225 

hardness as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ, though as a 
soldier of His Majesty, King George, he was a most conspicuous 

Maxfield also had a taste of soldiering the following year, but 
"Wesley was always on the watch, and if any harm came to his helpers 
he was speedily making efforts in their behalf, and thus the King's 
armies gained very httle from the Methodist preachers. These men 
would not fight, but no terror could prevent them from preaching and 
praying. No wonder that Wesley was proud of such helpers. They 
were men after his own heart ; so full of the fear of God that they 
had no room in them for any other kind of fear. 

The item of legal expense is a large one in Mr. Wesley's accounts 
for not only did he invoke the law for the protection of himself, his 
preachers, and his people, at his own cost, but he also caused large 
sums of money to be raised in the Societies to pay the infamous fines 
and ransoms which were laid on the heads of his co-laborers, thus 
giving the people a sense of partnership in the hardships as well as in 
the ministry of the itinerants, and adding not a little to their dignity 
and power ; since he must be a very poor preacher indeed who could 
not command the attention of a congregation, when, for the sake 
of preaching the Gospel to them, he had suffered the loss of all things, 
and was actually carrying his life in his hands. 

"parson" butler's ATTACIC ox the METHODIST CHAPEL AT CORK. 



The First ^lethodist Conference. — It was in the midst 
of these stormy times, perhaps because of tliem, that "Wesley convened 
his first Conference at tlie Old Foundry, in London, on the 25th of 
June, 17-1:4. It M'as simply a meeting of the two Wesleys with four 
of their friends from among the English clergy, and four lay 
preachers, who came together at Mr. AYesley's in\^tation to give liim 
their advice " respecting the best method of carrying on the work.'^ 
The following is the conference roll : — 

Rev. John Wesley, A.M. 

Rev. Charles "Wesley. 

Rev. Jonx Hodges, Rector of Wenvo. 

Rev. IIexry Piers, Vicar of Rcxley. 

Rev. Samckl Taylor, Vicar of Quinton. 

FiEST Methodist Conference. 227 

Hev. John Meriton, a clergyman from the Isle of Man. 

Thomas Maxfield, Lay Preacher. 

Thomas Eichakds, " " 

John Benneti^, " " 

John Downes, " " 

Of the four clerical members of this small but memorable council 
\vho ventured to accept Mr. Wesley's invitation, Hodges was a Welsh 
minister who had often accompanied the Wesleys in their preaching 
tour through that principahty. Piers was a convert and fellow-laborer 
of Charles Wesley. Taylor, the Yicar of Quinton, in Gloucestershire, 
was himself a notable evangehst, with some of the old English mar- 
tyr blood in him, who, hke Wesley, was accustomed to go out into 
the highways and hedges in the name of the Lord, and who also 
bore his share of persecution. Meriton had been educated in one of 
the Universities, and was now a clergyman in the Isle of Man. The 
last years of his life seem to have been chiefly spent in accompanying 
the Wesleys on their preaching excursions, and in assisting them in 
the chapels they had built. Of the four lay members of this first 
Conference three afterward left Mr. Wesley and became ministers of 
other Churches ; John Downes being the only one who lived and died 
a Methodist. 

The day before the Conference commenced was a memorable one. 
Besides the ordinary preaching service, a love-feast was held at the Old 
Foundry, and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered t-o 
tlie whole of the London Society, now numbering between two and 
three thoitsand members ; at which sacramental service five clergymen 
assisted. On the day following the Conference was opened witli 
prayer, a sermon by Charles Wesley, and the baptism of an adult, 
who then and there found peace with God. 

Xo mere dogmatic qtiestions were raised, but the Conference 
confined its attention to these three points, namely : 1. What to 
teach. 2. How to teach. 3. How to regulate doctrine, discipline, 
and practice. "It is desired," said these good men, "that every 
thing be considered as in the immediate presence of God ; that 
Ave may meet with a single eye, and as little children who have every 
thing to learn ; that every point may be examined from the founda- 
tion ; that every person may speak freely what is in his heart, and 

228 Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

that every question proposed may be freely debated, and ' bolted to 
the bran.' " 

The form of question, wliich has ever since been retained in the 
^nutes of the British Conference, because of its manifest simpKcity 
and directness, was here first used. Some of these questions and 
answers are worthy of frequent repetition, as, for instance : — 

Q. " How far does each agree to submit to the unanimous judg- 
ment of the rest ? 

A. " In speculative things each can only submit so far as his judg- 
ment shall be convinced ; in every practical point, so far as we can 
without wounding our several consciences." 

Q. " Should we be fearful of thoroughly debating every question 
which may arise ? 

A. " What are we afraid of ? Of overturning our first principles ? 
If they are false, the sooner they are overturned the better. If they 
are true, they will bear the strictest examination. Let us all pray for 
a willingness to receive hght to know every doctrine whether it be of 

Q. " How far is it our duty to obey the Bishops ? 

A. "In all things indifferent, and on this ground of obeying 
them we should observe the canons as far as we can with a safe 

The general answer to the question of " How to preach ? " was : — 

" 1. To invite. 2. To convince. 3. To offer Christ. Lastly, to 
build up. And to do this in some measure in every sermon." 

It was also agreed that lay assistants, of which there were now 
about forty, were allowable only in cases of necessity. They were to 
expound every morning and evening ; to meet the united bands, or 
private societies within Societies, and the penitents once a week ; to 
visit the classes once a quarter ; to hear and decide all controversies ; 
to put the disorderly back on trial, and to receive on trial for tlie 
bands of Society ; to see that the stewards, the leaders, school-masters, 
and house-keepers, faithfully discharged their several offices ; and to 
meet the leaders and stewards weekly, and to examine their accounts. 
They were to be serious ; to converse sparingly and cautiously with 
women, taking no step toward marriage without first acquainting Mr. 
AVesley or his brother clergymen, and to do nothing " as a gentleman," 

First Methodist Conference. 229 

for tliey had " no more to do with this character than with that of a 

They were to be ashamed of nothing but sin. They were to take 
no money of any one, and were to contract no debts without Wesley's 
knowledge ; they were not to mend the rules, but to keep them ; they 
were to employ their time as Wesley directed, and to keep journals, as 
well for Wesley's satisfaction as for their own profit. 

It was agreed, also, that it was lawful for Methodists to bear arms, 
and they might use the law as defendants, and perhaps in some cases 
as plaintiffs. They were to meet the children in every place, and 
give them suitable exhortations ; they were to preach expressly and 
strongly against Sabbath-breaking, dram-drinking, evil sj)eaking, un- 
profitable conversation, lightness, expensiveness or gayety of apparel, 
and against contracting debts without sufficient care to discharge them. 
They were to recommend to every Society, frequently and earnestly, 
the books of Wesley as being preferable to any other ; they were also 
to use their best endeavors to extirpate smuggling, and by all means 
to prove themselves loyal subjects both of the Church and of the King. 
As often as possible they were to rise at four o'clock ; to spend two 
or three minutes every hour in earnest prayer ; to observe strictly the 
morning and evening hour of retirement ; to rarely employ above an 
hour at a time in conversation ; to use all the means of grace ; to keep 
watch-nights once a month ; to take a regular catalogue of the Societies 
once a year ; to speak freely to each other, and never to part without 
prayer. They were never to preach more than twice a day unless 
on Sundays or extraordinary occasions ; to begin and end the service 
precisely at the time aj)pointed ; to always suit their subject to their 
congregations ; to choose the plainest texts possible, and to beware of 
allegorizing and rambling from their texts. They were to avoid 
every thing awkward or affected, either in phrase, gesture, or pronun- 
ciation ; to sing no hymns of their own composing ; to choose hymns 
proper for the congregation ; not to sing more than five or six verses 
at a time, to suit the tune to the nature of the hymns. After preach- 
ing, they were recommended to take lemonade, candied orange peel, 
or a little soft warm ale ; and to avoid late suppers, and egg and wine, 
as downright poison. 

Some of these directions are sufficiently familiar to those who have 

230 Illustrated History of METHODisii. 

had the good fortune to be present at a conference during the recep- 
tion of ministers into the travehng connection. The " warm ale " and 
" orange peel " have, indeed, disappeared, but the weightier matters of 
advice in doctrine and practice still stand in the Discipline which 
governs, or is supposed to govern, nearly twentv-five thousand 
Methodist clergy. 

The body of lay Methodist preachers for whose benefit these reg- 
ulations were laid down were good and tnie men, soundly converted, 
who believed with all their hearts in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in 
their individual call to his ministry. In those days there was enough 
hardship in the life of a Methodist preacher to keep all common men 
away; nevertheless there were streaks of human nature, rather bi'oad 
ones sometimes, in the character of these heroes, on account of which 
many of them fell out of the ranks after a short period of service. 
A few of them, from time to time, succeeded in attaining their 
darling ambition, an ordination and a parish in the Established 
Church ; others were silenced by the pressure of prosperity, others by 
insufferable trials and privations ; some drifted away into the Moravian 
Church ; some found a snug situation in Lady Huntingdon's Connec- 
tion along with their old friend "Whitefield ; and others still, chafing 
under the severity of the rules, and of the almost military strictness 
with which Mr. Wesley enforced them, quarreled with their great 
leader, and set up preaching for themselves. But their places were 
more than filled by new recruits, and the great revival movement 
progressed with wonderful rapidity. 

Wesley's Clinreliiiiansliip. — The number of friends and 
helpers among the English clergy was always very small, nor did it 
increase in the ratio of the increase of the popular success of the 
Methodist movement. This was a source of great anxiety to 
Mr. Wesley, who had not yet been delivered from the bondage 
of ecclesiastical traditions, and who, by the peculiarity of his 
position, was sometimes led to look narrowly at the bars of liis 
churchly prison to see if some of them were not loose in their sockets, 
and so might be removed to give him egress when he would go out, 
and ingress when he desired to be found within ; for on no account 
would he make use of the door of dissent, which would have opened 
widely enough to let him out, but which would be barred and bolted 

, Wesley on Episcopacy. 231 

against his return. The state of his mind at this time is indicated in 
one of his letters, in which he says, " We will obey all the laws of that 
Chm-ch (such as we allow the rubrics to be, but not the customs of the 
ecclesiastical courts) so far as we can with a safe conscience ; and with 
the same restriction we will obey the Bishops, as executors of those 
laws ; but their bare will, distinct from those laws, we do not profess 
to obey at all. Field preaching is contrary to no law which we 
profess to obey ; nor are we clear that the allowing lay preachers is 
contrary to any such law. But if it is, this is one of the exempt 
cases : one wherein we cannot obey with a safe conscience." 

The question, " Shall we leave the Established Church ? " contin- 
ually occurs in the Minutes of his Annual Conferences, as if to indicate 
that it was constantly pressed upon his attention as a means of reliev- 
ing himself and his friends from the difficulties of their situation. 
But the oft-repeated answer is, ISTo, No, NO ! given with more or less 
of argument and explanation, and sometimes with a leaning toward a 
larger liberty. Thus at the third day's session of the Conference 
of 1745 the question was asked : 

" Is Episcopahan, Presbyterian, or Independent Church govern- 
ment most agreeable to reason ? " 

The answer was, " A preacher preaches and forms an independent 
congregation ; he then forms another and another in the immediate 
vicinity of the first ; this obliges him to appoint deacons, who look on 
the first pastor as theii* common father ; and as these congregations 
increase, and as their deacons grow in years and grace, they need other 
subordinate deacons, or helpers ; in respect of whom they are called 
presbyters, or elders ; as their father in the Lord may be called the 
bishop, or overseer of them all." 

The next year the famous work of Lord King, afterward Lord 
High Chancellor of England, fell into his hands, entitled, " An 
Inquiry into the Constitution, Discipline, Unity, and Worship of the 
Primitive Church, that flourished Three Hundred Years after Christ ; 
Faithfully Collected out of the extant Writings of those Ages." 

King was a Dissenter ; and the chief object of his learned work 
was to prepare the way for that comprehension of the Dissenters 
within the pale of the Established Church which the Revolution of 
1688 was supposed likely to accomplish. The effect upon Wesley's 

232 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

mind of this learned attack on the ecclesiastical pretensions of the 
clersrv of the Church of Rome and of Enorland Tvas to demoHsh the 
fiction of an unbroken succession of bishops as a third order of the 
ministry ordained by Christ and descended from the apostles. After 
reading it he savs : " In spite of the vehement prejudice of my educa- 
tion, I was ready to believe that this was a fair and impartial draught ; 
but if so, it would follow that bishops and presbyters are (essentially) 
of one order, and that originally every Christian congregation was a 
Church independent of all others." 

He further expresses his modified views in the Minutes of the Con- 
ference of ITiT, in which the following questions and answers occur : — 

Q. Does a Cliurch in the New Testament always mean a single congregation? 

A. We believe it does. We do not recollect any instance to the contrary. 

Q. What instance or ground is there, then, in the Xew Testament, for a 
national Church ? 

A. We know none at all. We apprehend it to be a merely political insti- 

Q. Are the three orders of bishops, priests, and deacons plainly described in 
the New Testament ? 

A. We think they are; and believe they generally obtained in the Ciiurches 
of the apostolic age. 

Q. But are you assured that God designed the same plan should oijtain in all 
Churches, throughout all ages ? 

A. We are not assured of this ; because we do not know that it is asserted 
in Holy Writ. 

Q. If this plan were essential to a Christian Church, what must become of 
all the foreign Reformed Churches? 

A. It would follow, that they are no parts of the Church of Christ — a con- 
sequence full of shocking absurdity. 

Q. In what age was the divine right of episcopacy first asserted in England ? 

A. About the middle of Queen Elizabeth's reign. Till then all the bishops 
and clersy in England continually allowed, and joined in. the ministrations of 
those who were not specially ordained. 

Q. Must there not be numberless accidental varieties in the government of 
various Churches ? 

A. There must, in the nature of things. For, as God variously dispenses his 
gifts of nature, providence, and grace, both the offices themselves and the 
officers in each, ought to be varied from time to time. 

Q. Wiiy is it that there is no determinate plan of Ciiurch goverament 
appointed in Scripture ? 

. Early Methodist Preaching Places. 233 

A.- Without doubt, because the wisdom of God had a regard to this neces- 
sary variety. 

Q. Was there any thought of uniformity in the government of all Churches 
until the time of Constantine ? 

A. It is certain tliat tliere was not; and would not have been then had men 
consulted the word of God only. 

Early Methodist Preachiu^-Houses. — The original 
Methodists were not fastidious in their architectural tastes. A large 
barn was, in their judgment, preferable to a small parlor or chapel ; and 
rather than measure their labors by the capacity of a fine church, they 
preferred to address the multitude in the market-place or in the fields. 

On the 7th of May, 174Y, Mr. Wesley paid his first visit to Man- 
chester, where a few young men had formed themselves into a 
Society, rented a room, and written a letter desiring to be admitted to 
the Methodist fraternity. This preaching-room was in the garret of a 
three-story house which overhung the river, and whose ground floor 
was a joiner's shop. The middle story was occu23ied as a residence, 
and a part of the garret was also the home of a poor woman who plied 
her spinning-wheel in one corner while her husband worked his loom 
in another. A third corner was occu]3ied as a bunker for coals, and in 
the fourth the young men held their services. 

The l^ottingham Society for many years held its meetings in the 
residence of one of its members named Matthew Bagshaw, which 
place was ingeniously fitted up to serve this double purpose. The 
largest room on the first floor being too small for the congregation, the 
bed-room overhead was made to connect with it by means of a large 
trap-door in the ceiKng, and the preacher, mounted on a chair which 
was perched on a table, could command his hearers above as well as 
below. But this was elegant compared with some of the regular 
churches in Wales, one of which Mr. Wesley mentions as not having 
a glass window belonging to it, but only boards with holes bored here 
and there, through which the dim light glimmered ; while some of the 
Irish sanctuaries were even more simple, being wholly built of mud 
and straw, with the exception of a few rough beams required to 
suj)port the thatch. 

Methodisiii Carried into Ireland. — In the summer of 
174G Thomas Williams, one of Wesley's itinerant preachers, made 


Illustrated Histop.y of Methodis^m. 

liis appearance in the city of Dublin, where, by his pleasing manners 
and good address, as well as by his sound doctrine and zeal for God, 
he gathered a httle Society, and then sent for his chief to come and 


visit it. Wesley complied at his earliest convenience, and landed in 
Dublin on Sunday morning, August 0th, of the same year. 

Methodism in Ireland. 235 

The welcome he received from all sorts and conditions of men, 
including even His Grace the Archbishop, led Mr. "Wesley to write : — 

" For natural sweetness of temper, for courtesy and hospitality, I 
have ne^^er seen any people Kke the Irish. Indeed, all I conversed with 
were only English trans]3lanted into another soil, and they are much 
mended by the removal, having left all their roughness and surliness 
behind them. 

" At least ninety-nine in a hundred of the native Irish remain in the 
religion of their forefathers. The Protestants, whether in Dublin or 
elsewhere, are almost all transplanted from England. 'Nor is it any 
wonder that those who are born Papists generally live and die such, 
when the Protestants can find no better ways to convert them than 
penal laws and acts of Parliament," 

It is proverbially dangerous to form a judgment from first appear- 
ances. To the end of his life Mr. Wesley exceedingly dehghted in 
Ireland and the Irish, among whom he was always received on his 
numerous visits with the greatest cordiality and honor ; but many of 
his preachers had a very difEerent story to tell concerning their experi- 
ences in preaching the Gospel to these " transplanted English," who, 
as they discovered, had not left all their " roughness and surliness " 
behind them. 

On W^esley's return to England his brother Charles, with Charles 
Perronet, one of AVesley's clerical helpers, took charge of the Dublin 
Society, for whose use their chief had secured a chapel in Marlborough- 
street ; but in an evil day the uncomfortable John Cennick, who had 
now become as weary of Whitefield as he formerly was of Wesley, 
and had gone over to the Moravians, made his appearance in the Irish 
capital, and by his wild attacks on the doctrine of the Papists brought 
all the Methodists into disrepute. " The courtesy and natural sweet- 
ness " of the Irish temj)er had been overborne by their zeal for the 
Papist religion, and Charles Wesley found that the chapel had been 
destroyed by the mob, whose shillalahs had not spared the heads of 
the congregation, and for a time there was no one to be found in 
Dublin who dared to sell or rent the Methodists a place of M'orship. 

But the Irish temper is like Irish weather, stormy and sunny 
within the same hour. For awhile Charles Wesley preached at the 
risk of his life on Oxmanton Green ; but the wrath of the mob 


Illustkated History of JMethodism. 

quickly cooled down, and in a few weeks he was able to buy a house 
and lit it up for a preaching place, whose location, with almost Hiber- 
nian aptness, he describes in* a letter to his brother as " a house near 
Dolphin's bam." 

The results of this were vastly important. Forty-two times 
"Wesley crossed the Irish Channel, and spent, in his different visits, at 
least half a dozen years of his laborious life in the Emerald Isle. Ire- 


land yielded him some of the most eminent of his coadjutors : Thomas 
"Walsh, Adam Clarke, Henry Moore, and others ; and Irish men and 
women were ordained by Providence to carry Methodism into almost 
every quarter of the globe. 

For six months Charles "Wesley, Perronet, Healey, and other 
itinerants, kept the Gospel trumpet sounding, not only in the streets 
and lanes, but also among the bogs and mountains. 

They made an excursion to Tyrrell's Pass, and from among 

Methodism in Ireland. 237 

proverbial swearers, drunkards, thieves, and Sabbath-breakers, formed 
a Society of nearly one hundred persons. At Athlone a gang of 
ruffians knocked Jonathan Healey off his horse, beat him with a club, 
and were about to murder him with a knife, when a poor woman 
from a hut came to his assistance, and for her interference was half 
killed with a blow from a heavy whip. The hedges were all lined 
with Papists, but the dragoons came out, the mob fled, Healey was 
rescued, and taken into the woman's cabin, where Charles Wesley 
found him in his blood, and attended to his wounds. A crowd of 
above two thousand having assembled in the market, Charles Wesley 
preached to them from the window of a ruined house with good effect, 
and then the knot of brave-hearted Methodists marched to the field 
of battle, stained with Healey's blood, and sang a song of triumph and 
of praise to God. 

On the return of the elder Wesley to Ireland in the spring of 
1748 he found a Society in Dublin of nearly four hundred members. 
A wide circuit had been organized, including Athlone, Tullamore, 
Birr, Aughrim, Ballymote, Castlebar, Sligo, and Cooleylough ; the last- 
named being the cathedral town, only there was no cathedral there, 
the quarterly meetings being held under the hospitable roof of Mr. 
Handy, an Irish Methodist gentleman of the olden time, while preach- 
ing might be done in any convenient place under the shelter of the sky. 

For four or five years the Dublin Methodists worshiped in " the 
house near Dolphin's barn," till an elegant chapel was erected for 
them in Whitefriar-street, in the year 1752. 

Methodism in Cork. — The city of Cork, especially at that 
day, was not a very safe place for a Methodist preacher ; but when 
John Wesley was planned the element of fear was left out of his 
composition, and therefore he was not afraid to invade that wild 
Irish city. As he rode through the town he found that his fame had 
preceded him, for the people crowded to the doors and windows of 
their houses to catch a glimpse of the arch-Methodist as he passed. 
Their evident temper was such that he judged it best not to call such 
a crowd together until he had further studied the situation ; so he rode 
straight through the city, and preached first at the Protestant town of 
Bandon, and afterward at Blarney, where the ridiculous report was 
spread abroad that the Methodists believed that religion consisted in 

238 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

wearing long whiskers ! What the Methodist women did to be saved 
they did not undertake to explain. 

A small Society had already been formed in Cork, which went on 
peaceably enough till the clergy and the town corporation started a 
persecution against them. A strolling ballad-singer, named Butler, 
was engaged to lead the anti-Methodist mob, and this despicable fellow, 
dressed in a parson's gown and bands, with a Bible in one hand, and a 
collection of lampooning rhymes in the other, paraded the streets, 
singing and peddling the most outrageous and ridiculous slanders 
against Wesley and liis followers. The next step was to attack the 
Society as they were coming out of their place of meeting. Mud, 
stones, and clubs were used against them with genuine Irish freedom 
and vigor, and when some of the wounded ones fled back into the 
preaching-house for shelter, two sheriffs of the city came upon the 
scene, turned them out again into the midst of their assailants, and 
locked the doors of their own chapel against them. 

Butler and his gang amused themselves daily and nightly by mal- 
treating the Methodists, breaking their windows, and spoiling their 
goods, the Mayor of the city himself being sometimes a silent spec- 
tator, and refusing to interfere to preserve the peace. Every day 
for a fortnight the mob gathered in front of the house of David Sulh- 
van, and threatened to pull it down, and he at length applied to the 
Mayor for protection. 

" It is your own fault for entertaining those preachers," answered 
the Mayor ; whereupon the mob set up a loud huzza, and threw stones 
faster than ever. 

" This is fine usage under a Protestant government," said Sulli- 
van. "If I had a priest saying mass in my house it would not be 

The Mayor rephed, " The priests are tolerated, but you are not ; " 
and the crowd, thus encouraged, continued throwing stones till mid- 

On May 31, 1749, the day that Wesley passed through Cork, Butler 
and his friends assembled at the chapel, and beat and bruised and cut 
the congregation most fearfully. The rioters burst open the chapel 
doors ; tore up the pews, the benches, and the floor, and burned them 
in the open street. Having demolished the chapel, Butler and his 

Methodism in Ieeland. 239 

gang of ruffians went from street to street, and from house to house, 
abusing, threatening, and maltreating the Methodists at their pleasure, 
some of the women narrowly escaping with their lives. [See heading 
of Chapter X.] For two months these horrible outrages were con- 
tinued; and at the end of that period "Wesley writes: "It was not 
for those who had any regard either to their persons or goods to 
oppose Mr. Butler after this. So the poor people patiently suffered 
whatever he and his mob were pleased to inflict upon them." 

Twenty-eight presentments were made against Butler and his 
crew before the Grand Jury of the Cork Assizes, but they were all 
thrown out, while the same jury made a presentment declaring that 
Charles Wesley, and seven other Methodist preachers therein named, 
together with Daniel Sullivan, were all persons of ill fame, vagabonds, 
and common disturbers of His Majesty's peace, and ought to be trans- 
ported. This, of course, gave Butler greater hcense than ever. His 
fiendish jDcrsecutions had now received a semi-official sanction, and 
were carried on with the greatest gusto. The farce of a trial of six 
Irish Methodist itinerants for vagabondage, and disturbing the peace, 
was afterward attempted at Cork, with the infamous Butler as chief 
witness against them, but the judge declared that it was an insult to 
the court to brino- such a case and such a witness before him. 

One of the rabble died shortly afterward, and was buried in a 
coffin made of two of the benches which he had stolen from the 
Methodist meeting-house ; while the notorious Butler went first to 
Waterford, where, in another riot, he lost an arm, and then fled 
to Dublin, where he dragged out the remainder of his life in misery, 
and was actually saved from starving by the charity of the Dublin 

The next year Wesley again risked life and limb among these 
semi-savages of Cork, who burned him in effigy, and broke the windows, 
as well as the heads, of quite a number of his congregation. On this 
occasion one of the leaders of the mob was a drunken clergyman, who, 
when Wesley was preaching at Bandon, got up beside him, flourished 
his shiUalah, and gave the signal for an attack ; but his reverence was 
too drunk to be an effective leader, and three women of the congrega- 
tion pulled him down and carried him off, leaving the preacher to go 
on with his discourse in peace. 

240 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

In spite of the dangers which he and his friends encountered 
among them, Wesley still loved the Irish people, and visited their 
Societies almost every year. In his Journal he relates some of his 
most striking experiences among them. For instance : — 

At Aymo, where he wished to sleep, the woman who kept the inn 
refused him admittance, and, moreover, let loose four dogs to M'orry 

At Portarlington he had the unthankful task of reconciling the 
differences of two termagant women, who talked for three hours, and 
grew waiTaer and warmer, till they were almost distracted. Wesley 
says : " I perceived there was no remedy but prayer ; so a few of us 
wrestled with God for above two hours." The result was, after three 
hours of scolding and two hours of praying, anger gave place to love, 
and the quarrelsome ladies fell upon each other's neck and wept. 

At Tullamore many of his congregation were drunk ; but the bulk 
paid great attention. He rebuked the Society for their lukewarmness 
and covetousness ; and had the pleasure of seeing them evince signs of 

At Tyrrell's Pass he found a great part of the Society " walking in 
the light, and praising God all the day long." 

At Cooleylough he preached to backsliders. In the midst of the 
service at Athlone a man passed by on a fine prancing horse, which 
drew off a large part of the congregation. Wesley paused, and then, 
raising his voice, said, " If there are any more of you who think it is 
of more concern to see a dancing horse than to hear the Gospel of 
Christ, pray go after them." The renegades heard the rebuke, and 
the majority at once returned. 

It so happened that at the time of Wesley's visit to Rathcorrauck 
there was an Irish funeral. An immense crowd of people had assem- 
bled to do honor to the dead ; a part of the burial service was read in 
the church, after which Wesley preached ; and, as soon as his dis- 
course was ended, the customary Irish howl was given. Wesley writes : 
" It was not a song, but a dismal, inarticulate yell, set up at the grave 
by four shrill-voiced women, who were hired for that purpose. But I 
saw not one that shed a tear; for that, it seems, was not in their 

In 1752 Wesley paid another visit to the Green Isle, accompa- 

First Irish Conference. 241 

nied by Tliomas Walsh, who was possessed of the rare accomplish- 
ment of being able to jDreach in the Irish language. At this time 
steps were taken to erect a Methodist house in Cork, and four years 
later "Wesley, after preaching in it, says it was in every way the equal 
of the Dublin house, and built for two hundred pounds less money. 

The first Irish Conference was held at Limerick, on the 14:th and 
15th of August, 1Y52, at which there were ten preachers in attend- 
ance, and where six others were admitted ; among whom was Philip 
Guier, one of a company of German refugees called Palatines,* which 
had settled in the neighborhood of Ballingran about forty years 
before. He was the master of the German school at Ballingran ; and 
it was in his school that Philip Embury (subsequently the founder of 
Methodism in the United States, now a young man thirty-two years of 
age) had been taught to read and write. By means of Guier, also, the 
devoted Thomas Walsh, of the same age as Embury, had been enlight- 
ened and prepared to receive the truth as it is in Jesus. PhilijD Guier 
was made the leader of the infant Society at Limerick, and now, in 
1752, was appointed to act as a local preacher among the Palatines. 
He still kept his school, but devoted his spare hours to preaching. 
The people loved the man, and sent him flour, oatmeal, bacon, and 
potatoes, so that Philip, if not rich, was not in want. 

The Irish itinerants were to be allowed £8 at least, and if possible 
£10 a year for clothing ; and £10 a year were to be allowed for the 
support of each preacher's wife. The preachers were to j)reacli fre- 
quently and strongly on fasting ; and were to practice it every Friday, 
health permitting. J^ext to luxury they were to avoid idleness, and 
to spend one hour every day in private prayer. 

It is a remarkable fact that after the lapse of a hundred years the 
name of Philip Guier is as fresh in Ballingran as it ever was ; and 
still the Pajjists, as well as Protestants, are accustomed to salute the 
Methodist minister as he jogs along on his circuit horse, and say, 
" There goes Philip Guier, who drove the devil out of Ballingran ! " 

* The Palatinate, now included in Bavaria, was a small section of country governed by a 
" Count Palatine," a title signifying " officer of the palace." These petty princes date back to 
the fifteenth century, when the first of their hereditary line, who was an officer in the pal- 
ace of one of the German Emperors, received the gift of this little duchy from his imperial 
master. Tiie Irish Palatines were exiles for the sake of their Reformed faith, having fled 
from their native country to escape from Papal pe'secution. 

242 Illustrated History of METnoDis^r. 

\%^esley as a Disciplinarian. — Perliaps no single utterance 
of John AVesley so well serves to set fortli his idea of his power over 
the itinerant preachers, as the following extract from one of his letters 
to Edward Perronet, in 1T50. He was evidently in a disturbed frame 
of mind over the action of the Society at Cork, to which he refers ; 
for one of the things he especially hated was the idea of separation 
from the Established Church. Edward Perronet had a brother, 
Charles. The italics are Wesley's own : — 

" I have abundance of complaints to make, as well as to hear. I 
have scarce any one on whom I can dej^end when I am a hundred 
miles off. 'Tis well if I do not run away soon, and leave them to cut 
and slmtfle for themselves. Here [in Ireland] is a glorious people ; 
but O ! where are the shepherds ? The Society at Cork have fairly 
sent me word that they will take care of themselves, and erect them- 
selves into a Dissenting congregation. I am weary of these sons of 

Zeruiah : they are too hard for me. Charles and you hehave as I want 
you to do ; but you cannot, or will not, preach where I desire. Others 
can and will preach where I desire, but they do not hehave as I want 
them to do. I have a tine time between the one and tlie other. I 
think both Charles and you have, in the general, a right sense of what 
it is to serve as sons in the gospel ; and if all our helpers had had the 
same the work of God would have prospered better, both in England 
^and Ireland. I have not one preacher with me, and not six in 
England, whose wills are broken to serve me thus." 

" Whose wills are broken to serve me." Surely no ecclesiastical 
superior ever expressed himself with more clearness and force. 
Though not claiming now to be a bishop, John AVesley was an apt 
•scholar in the use of the crosier, and it was not long before he also 
learned how to handle the ecclesiastical sword. 

Wesley's Income. 243 

Wesley's Money Matters. — An account of Mr. Wesley's 
labors and productions as Editor, Autlior, and Publisher will be given 
elsewhere, but it is well to notice here his defense of himself against 
the charge that he was carrying on his great work with a view to 
making money. This defense was published in 17-i3, in reply to a 
report which had been circulated that he enjoyed an income from the 
Foundry Society alone of thirteen hundred pounds a year over and 
above what he received from the Societies at Bristol, Kingswood, 
l^ewcastle, and other places. He declares that the money given by 
the Methodists never comes into his hands at all, but is received and 
expended by the stewards in the relief of the poor, the purchase, 
erection, and repair of chapels ; and that so far from there being any 
overplus left for himseK, he had borrowed and contributed on his own 
account some six hundred and fifty pounds for the preaching houses 
in London, Bristol, and IS'ewcastle. Then, addressing himself to his 
clerical brethren, he asks : — 

" For what price will you preach eighteen or nineteen times every 
week ; and this throughout the year ? "What shall I give you to travel 
seven or eight hundred miles, in all weathers, every two or three 
months ? For what salary will you abstain from all other diversions 
than the doing good and the praising God ? I am mistaken if you 
would not prefer strangling to such a life, even with thousands of 
gold and silver. As to gold and silver, I count it dung and dross ; I 
trample it under my feet ; I esteem it just as the mire of the streets. 
I desire it not ; I seek it not ; I only fear lest any of it should cleave 
to me, and I should not be able to shake it off before my sj^irit returns 
to God. I will take care (God being my helper) that none of the 
accursed thing shall be found in my tents when the Lord calleth me 
hence. Hear ye this, all you who have discovered the treasures which 
I am to leave behind me ; if I leave behind me ten pounds — above my 
debts and my books, or what may happen to be due on account of 
them — you and all mankind bear witness against me, tliat I lived and 
died a thief and a robber." 

Many years afterward Wesley "became rich unawares," by the 
immense circulation of his books and tracts among the ever-increasing 
multitudes of his followers and friends ; but he treated himself as a 
servant of his own establishment, and only allowed himself "thirty 

244 Illustrated History of MEnioDisir. 

pounds a year, and an occasional suit of clothes '" out of the income of 
his London Pubh slang House ; the rest, above his traveling expenses, 
he gave away — some to the support of his brother Charles, in addition 
to his proper share of the income from the sale of the hymn books ; 
some to relieve the necessities of his widowed or unhappily married 
sisters; some to help his lay preachers, who without his aid could 
have hardly kept soul and body together; a large amount to build the 
London school and preaching-houses ; and the rest he poured out in a 
ceaseless stream of alms and benefactions to the poor and unfortunate 
whom he met day by day. 

The Foundry Bank. — In 1747 ^ir. "Wesley established a 
kind of bank at the Foundry, which he called a '• Lending Society." 
This institution commenced business on a capital of fifty pounds, 
which Mr, AYesley had begged among his friends in London, and 
lodged in the hands of the stewards, who held a meeting every 
Tuesday morning for the purpose of loaning to approved persons 
small amounts not to exceed twenty shillings, on condition that the 
loan should be repaid within three months. This charitable loan fund 
soon became popular : the capital was increased to one hundred and 
twenty pounds, and the maximum loan to five pounds; and by its 
means hundreds of honest poor people were aided in times of special 
distress, and some who were on the verge of ruin were by this small 
assistance saved from bankruptcy, and placed again on the road to 

Wesley as a ^WEedical ]^an. — In the year 1746 Mr. Wesley 
opened his nota])le Medical Dispensary in London. Having already 
provided a loan fund for the relief of the poor, his attention was now 
called to the fact that medicines were expensive, and doctors still more 
expensive, and having himseK some considerable knowledge of the 
healing art, he offered his services, without money or price, as a curer 
of the bodies as well as of the souls of people who were too poor to 
be killed or cured in the regular professional way. 

"For six or seven and twenty years," says he, "I had made 
anatomy and physic the diversion of my leisure hours, though I never 
properly studied them, unless for a few months when I was going to 
America."^ He now took up tlie study again, and having hired him 
an apothecar^' to take charge of his store of drugs, and an experienced 

Wesley in a New Ciiakacter, 245 

surgeon to attend to the mechanical part of the business, he gave 
notice thereof to the Society at the Foundry, and in a short time he 
had a medical " practice " of over a hundred patients a month. 

Of course he was branded as a quack by the regular medical 
profession, but he defended himself by his success, declaring that 
during the first four months he had cured seventy-one persons of 
diseases which liad long been thought to be incurable, and that out of 
all his five hundred patients not one had died on his hands. 

In a letter to Archbishop Seeker in 1T4T Mr. Wesley thus defends 
his irregular medical enterprise ; an extract which medical readers will 
do well to omit, as they will be sure to disagree with its views : — 

" For more than twenty years I have had numberless proofs that 
regular physicians do exceeding little good. From a deep conviction 
of this, I have believed it my duty, within these four months last past, 
to prescribe such medicines to six or seven hundred of the poor as I 
knew were projjer for their several disorders. Within six weeks nine 
in ten of them who had taken these medicines were remarkably 
altered for the better ; and many were cured of disorders under which 
they had labored for ten, twenty, forty yeai's. Now, ought I to have 
let one of these poor wretches perish, because I was not a regular 
physician ? to have said, ' I know what will cure you ; but I am not of 

the college ; you must send for Dr. ? ' Before Dr. had 

come in his chariot, the man might have been in his coffin. And 
when the doctor was come, where was his fee ? What ! he cannot hve 
upon nothing ! So, instead of an orderly cure, the patient dies, and 
God requires his blood at my hands." 

The success of the London dispensary was so great that another 
was opened at Bristol, with like favorable results. ' Wesley then ti'ied 
his hand at medical authorship, and published his book entitled 
"Primitive Physic," a work which was received with a storm of 
abuse and ridicule by the medical profession, but which was of no 
small service in its day. 

Aia®tlaer <•' Escape from MatriBfii©aiy." — It was during 
this period that Mr. Wesley passed through another stormy expe- 
rience similar to that in Savannah, which is set down in his biography 
as " an escape from matrimony." The woman in question — we may 
as well dismiss this bit of gossip at once — was Grace Murray, a sailor's 

240 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

widow, wlio, after a striking conversion, Lad devoted liei-self to a 
relimous life in connection with Mr. "NVeslev's Orphan House at ]S^ew- 
castle, where she occupied herself with teaching, visiting the sick, 
leading classes of women, and maldng occasional excursions for a 
similar pui-pose among the Societies in the country round. 

The Orphan House was also a hospital for sick preachers, several 
of whom she nursed, and who were greatly charmed with her ; espe- 
cially was this true of one, John Bennett, whom she took care of through 
a fever of twenty-six weeks' duration. "What could be more natm-al 
than that these two pious people should become exceedingly fond of 
one another ? But Wesley was known to be opposed to the marriage 
of his preachers — ^married preachers were more expensive, besides 
being much less manageable, than single ones; and when that great 
man liimself began to pay her some attentions the widow was too 
good a Methodist, and too worldly-wise, withal, to say any thing to 
him about her other clerical suitor. 

It is the fashion with chroniclers of this dehcate affair to look at 
the matter in the interest of the great Methodist man, but this record 
sliall stand in the interest of that charming and talented Methodist 
woman, who must have been possessed of remarkable "gifts and 
graces," otherwise the Eev. Jolm Wesley, A.M., Fellow of Lincoln 
College, the acknowledged head of a great and growing religious 
body, the personal friend of Lady Huntingdon and other aristocratic 
persons, would not have been willing to match himseK with a person 
of such humble extraction and condition. 

John Bennett was of a very respectable family in Derbyshire, and 
one of the ablest and best educated men in the Methodist Connection, 
and a marriage between him and Grace Mun*ay would have been 
eminently proper if poverty and Jolm Wesley had not stood in the 
way. But two such stubborn obstacles as these were not to be easily 

Bennett was so devoted to the charming widow that she de- 
clared if she were to refuse him she believed he would go mad. 
^Madame Grace, being somewhat experienced in such things, was, like 
any other sensible widow of a matrimonial turn, intent on seeming 
for herself the best husband she could; and when the General, 
Bishop — Bennett called him " Pope " — of all the Methodists began to 

Wesley and Grace Murray. 247 

make love to her, the situation was an exceedingly interesting one, 
and withal very difficult to manage. If to refuse Bennett would drive 
him mad, the same treatment might make the other suitor " mad " also. 
Already the two men had come to hard words about her, and she, 
like a careful woman, favored the addresses of each in turn. 

At length, when the matter had become public, and was likely to 
do no small damage among the Societies, Charles "Wesley, wlio was 
also "mad" at the idea of his distinguished brother marrying a woman 
of such humble antecedents, took the matter in hand, arranged a 
meeting between the widow and John Bennett, at Bristol, and would 
not leave town until with his own eyes he had seen this dangerously 
lovely woman bound hard and fast to Bennett in the holy bonds of 
matrimony. This marriage occurred October 3, 1T49. 

It is painfully amusing to read the solemn accounts of this unsuc- 
cessful courtship of John Wesley which appear in his various biogra- 
phies, Mr. Tyerman in his admirable book takes up the rod and lays 
it heavily upon Bennett and Mrs. Murray, at the same time proffering 
a handkerchief with which to dry Mr. Wesley's tears. Under the 
heading of " Who was blamable ? " he says : — 

"This episode in Wesley's history has been a puzzle to all his 
biographers. It has never been explained. Mystery has enwrapped 
it. Eeaders have been left in doubt who were the parties to be 
blamed. IN'ow there can be no great difficulty in pronouncing judg- 
ment. John Wesley was a dupe. Grace Murray was a flirt. John 
Bennett was a cheat. Charles Wesley was a sincere, but irritated, 
impetuous, and officious friend." 

Now all this may be very kind to the memory of John Wesley, 
but it is by no means an exhaustive summing up of the facts. It is 
also true that John Wesley was a half-way lover, halting between two 
opinions, wanting the widow very nmch, but either afraid or ashamed 
to marry her. He was an avowed old bachelor, forty-six years of age, 
who had already loved and lost one woman, whom he might have 
married if he would ; or, rather, given her up on the advice of his 
Moravian friends at Savannah, though when he afterward found how 
strong a hold this love had taken of his heart he appears to have dis- 
carded his officious friends : but then it was too late. 

Ilis condition now was greatly changed. He was no longer a poor 

248 Illustrated History of Mlthodis^l 

missionary to the Indians, among whom he thought to sj>end his life, 
that by helping to save their souls he might at length succeed in sav- 
ing his own, but the head of a large and growing religious fraternity, 
whose management often required all his patience and sagacity, though 
he never for one instant lessened his hold of the authority which his 
providential position gave him. It is evident that in this matter, also, 
he thought to hold the affections of the lady subject to his own con- 
venience and will ; a claim which no man has a right to set up, and 
which any woman has a right to deny. 

Grace Murray was a woman who was seeking to make the best 
possible disposal of her hand and heart, and who very much desired 
to mai'ry John Bennett if she could not have John Wesley. She had 
Bennett's ardent love and Wesley's promise of marriage. After the 
loss of much valuable time, having now jeopardized her chances of a 
union with Bennett, she began to grow anxious at Wesley's hesita- 
tion, and urged immediate marriage. To this he objected, because he 
wished — " (1) To satisfy John Bennett ; (2) to procure liis brother's 
consent ; (3) to send an account of his reasons for marrying to all his 
preachers and Societies, and to desire their prayers." When, there- 
fore, it became evident that his " brothers consent " could never be 
obtained, and when all the Methodist Societies were in an uproar 
about the marriage of their leader with " that woman I " she did the 
best thing possible under the circumstances, and became Mrs. Bennett 
without delay. 

And now to call Grace Murray " a flirt " is to blame her for not 
trusting a man who was willing to sacrifice her to his convenience ; 
to say that John Bennett was " a cheat " because he married the 
woman that Wesley wanted but dared not take, is hardly the cool, his- 
toric judgment which might be looked for in such an eminent au- 
thority as Tyerman ; and to call this " a dishonorable marriage " 
is to arraign a large proportion of the matrimony of this imperfect 
world, and thereby discourage that means of grace, of which already 
there is very much too little. 

Marriage and Separation. — The writer of this volume 
gives place to no man in ailniiration for the admirable qualities of the 
arch-Methodist ; but it is painfully evident that courtship and mar- 
riage ai*e among the few subjects which John AVesley did not under- 

Wesley's Maeeiage. 249 

stand, and it must ever remain one of the regrets of the lovers of 
Methodist history tliat its chiefest character makes so poor a figure as 
a lover and husband. If he had not published to the world his oj^in- 
ions in favor of clerical celibacy the world would have been far more 
likely to allow his unhappy loves and his disastrous marriage to pass 
into the realm of things forgotten ; but now, like other good men, 
having in a single instance set up his own oj^inion against the 
divine appointment, his folly as well as his wisdom has become 

To the words, " It is not good for man to be alone," he ventured to 
add — " except for itinerant preachers." He forbade his preachers to 
marry without his consent — a stretch of spiritual authority which even 
his own celibate life could hardly excuse ; when, therefore, he became 
the acknowledged suitor for the hand of Grace Murray he actually 
jeoparded the existence of the Methodist Connection. His preachers 
noticed the grave inconsistency of his course, and the Methodist sister- 
hood were in an agony of jealous wrath at the possible elevation of 
one of their common selves to a seat on the Wesleyan throne. They 
might have welcomed " a lady " whose rank and excellence could 
have given her a just pre-eminence ; but Wesley's singular ecclesiastical 
position no doubt prevented his gaining the hand of any well-born 
and well-bred daughter of the Establishment : he would not marry a 
Dissenter on any terms : and among the Wesleyan Methodists, now 
that Lady Huntingdon and her set had separated from them, there 
were few women to be found who were personally and socially fitted 
to be his wife. 

By his own rule he had made the question of the marriage of a 
preacher a fit subject to be discussed by his brethren, therefore he 
could not complain if his own private love affairs were the gossip of 
the whole Connection. 'No doubt he felt wounded at the loss of the 
woman he had intended to marry, but he had no claim to the senti- 
mental condolence of his friends and flatterers ; and he proved that 
his affections were not dangerously damaged by rushing into matri- 
mony some fourteen months afterward with the widow of a London 
merchant named Vazel, or Yazeille, a person of no education, and 
who, before her marriage to the merchant, had been a domestic 

250 Illustrated Histoky of JMethodis^l 

On Feb. 2, 1751, Mr. Wesley makes tliis entry in his Journal : — 

" For many years I remained single because I believed I could be 
more useful in a single than in a married state. And I praise God, 
who enabled me so to do. I now as fully believe that, in my present 
circumstances, I might be more useful in a married state." On the 
same day he vrrote to his brother Charles that he was "resolved to 
marry ; " yet four days after, he held a meeting of the single men of 
the London Society, and showed them on how many accounts it was 
good for those who had received that gift from God to remain " single 
for the kingdom of heaven's sake ; unless where a particular case 
might be an exception to the general rule." 

Four days after this remarkable service, just before he was about 
to start on his annual preaching tour to j^ewcastle and vicinity, he 
slipped on the ice while crossing London Bridge, and sprained his 
ankle quite severely. A surgeon bound up the leg ; and with great 
difficulty he proceeded to Seven Dials, where he preached. lie 
attempted to preach again, at the Foundiy at night ; but his sprain 
became so painful that he was obliged to relinquish his intention, and he 
at once removed to Threadneedle-street, where Mrs. Yazeille resided ; 
and here he spent the next seven days, " partly," he says, " in prayer, 
reading, and conversation, and partly in writing a Hebrew grammar 
and Lessons for Childi-en," 

The accident occurred on Sunday, Febraary 10. On the Sunday 
following he was " carried to the Foundry, and preached kneeling," 
not being yet able to stand ; and on the next day, or the day after, 
cripple though he was, he succeeded in leading Mrs. Yazeille, a widow, 
seven years younger than himseK, to the hymeneal altar. On Mon- 
day (February 18) he was still unable to set his foot to the ground. 
On the Tuesday evening and on the AVednesday morning he preached 
kneeling, and a fortnight after liis marriage, being, as he says, " tolera- 
bly able to ride, though not to walk," he set out for Bristol, leaving 
his newly married wife behind him. 

It was not long before this hasty marriage was followed by lei- 
surely repentance. The husband possessed in a high degree almost 
every other excellent qualification except such as are essential to 
happiness in the married state ; while the wife, of whom nobody 
seems to have heard any ill report till she became Mrs. Wesley, 

Wesley's Maeriage. 251 

was accused of having " an angry and bitter spirit." Mr. Jackson, 
one of Wesley's biographers, says : " Neither in understanding nor 
in education was she worthy of the eminent man to whom she was 
united, and her temper was intolerably bad. During the lifetime 
of her first husband she appears to have enjoyed every indulgence ; 
and, judging from some of his letters to her, which have been pre- 
served, he paid an entire deference to her will." 

John Hamj^son, who was one of Wesley's confidential friends, and 
sometimes his traveling companion, calls it a " preposterous union." 

The wretched wife was made almost insane with jealousy on 
account of her husband's official relations with the women who pre- 
sided over his orphanages at Bristol and Newcastle, and who led 
his classes of women in the various Societies throughout the king- 
dom ; some of whom had been exceedingly bad characters previous 
to their conversion. For about two years she traveled with him on his 
preaching tours, but, not being received with all the honors which she 
thought due to the wife of John Wesley, she retired from the 
traveling connection, and stayed at home in London, nursing her 
wrath by brooding over her imaginary wrongs. Sometimes she 
would make long secret journeys for the purpose of watching her 
husband's behavior; and becoming, at length, utterly reckless, she 
publicly attacked his character by publishing certain of his papers 
and letters, which were " doctored," and others which were forged, 
to suit this infamous purpose. She even laid violent hands on her 
husband, who, as will be remembered, was physically a small, light 
man, and whose gentleness and patience under what he accepted 
as his providential chastisement is a feeble and pitiful brightening in 
this dark matrimonial picture. 

The following is an extract from one of his letters to this 
virago : — 

" It might be an unspeakable blessing that you have a husband who 
knows your temper and can bear with it ; who, after you have tried 
him numberless ways, laid to his charge things that he knew not, 
robbed him, betrayed his confidence, revealed his secrets, given him 
a thousand treacherous wounds, purposely aspersed and murdered his 
character, and made it your tiisiness so to do, under the poor pretense 
of vindicating your own character — who, I say, after all these provo- 

252 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

cations is still -willing to forgive you all, to overlook what is past, as if 
it liad not been, and to receive you witli open arms ; only not while 
you have a sword in your hand, with which you are continually strik- 
ing at me, though you cannot hurt me. If, notwithstanding, you con- 
tinue striking, what can I, what can all reasonable men, think, but that 
either you are utterly out of your senses, or your eye is not single ; 
that you married me only for my money ; that, being disappointed, 
you were almost always out of humor ; and that this laid you open to 
a thousand suspicions, which, once awakened, could sleep* no more? 

" My dear Holly, let the time past suffice. As yet the breach may 
be repaired. You have wronged me much, but not beyond forgive- 
ness. I love you still, and am as clear from all other women as the day 
I was born. At length know me and know yourself. Your enemy I 
cannot be ; but let me be your friend. Suspect me no more, asperse 
me no more, provoke me no more. Do not any longer contend for 
mastery, for power, money, or praise. Be content to be a private in- 
significant person, known and loved by God and me. Attempt no 
more to abridge me of my liberty, which I claim by the laws of God 
and man. Leave me to be governed by God and my own conscience. 
Then shall I govern you with gentle sway, and show that I do indeed 
love you, even as Christ the Church." 

But it was not Madame Wesley's idea to be governed, even with a 
" gentle sway," and at length, in ITYl, she separated from him, purpos- 
ing never to return. The next year a peace was patched up between 
them, but it was only of brief duration, and thereafter they dwelt 
apart till her death, which occurred in ITSl. 

In most respects the great leader of "the people called Meth- 
odists " was an excellent model, but in all things relative to love and 
marriage even his greatest admirers can find in liis history little else 
to praise except a forgiving spirit and patience under torture. Great 
men are sure to have some weakness which in humbler lives miglit 
pass unnoticed, but which the very brightness of their virtues throws 
out into dark and prominent relief, and in this want of manliness in 
his relations with women appeal's the one inevitable failing which 
mars the life and career of John AVesley. 

In this connection the inquiry will naturally arise : What became of 
Bennett and Grace Murray ? 

CiiAKLEs Wesley's Maeeiage. 253 

So far as is known tlieir nnion was a liappy one. Bennett broke 
ofE all connection with Weslej soon after that event ; drew away some 
of the Bolton Society, and set up a chaj^el for himself at Warburton, 
where, after four or five years of ministry, during which he preached 
the Calvinistic doctrine, he died in great peace May 24, 1759. His 
wife survived him over forty years. Having seen her children settled 
in life, she rejoined the Methodists at Chapel-en-le-Frith, had a class- 
meeting in her house, kept a journal of her life after the fashion of 
Wesley and some of his loving imitators, and on the 23d of February, 
1803, departed in triumph, in the eighty-seventh year of her age. 

More MatrflBiiosiy.— The Wesleyan matrimonial chapter may 
as well be finished here. 

The wife of Charles "Wesley was Miss Sarah Gwynne, daughter of 
a Welsh magistrate, whose house, at Garth, was one of the hospitable 
halting places of the early itinerant preachers, and where, in 1743, 
the younger Wesley formed an acquaintance which in six years after- 
ward resulted in marriage. 

Under date of April 8, 1749, Mr. Wesley made the following 
entry in his Journal : — 

^^ Saturday, 8. I man-ied my brother and Sarah Gwynne. It 
was a solemn day, such as became the dignity of a Christian 

This union was in all respects a happy one, though there was a 
considerable disparity in age, Charles being forty, and his bride only 
twenty-three. The change from her father's mansion to a small 
house in Bristol was gi-eat ; but she loved her husband, and was never 
known to regret the comforts she had left behind. Of her eight chil- 
dren, most of whom were bom after the family removed to London, 
five died in infancy, three survived their parents, and by their distin- 
guished talent in music added luster to the name of Wesley. Mrs. 
Charles Wesley died on December 28, 1822, at the age of ninety-six. 
Her long life was an unbroken scene of devoted piety in its loveliest 
forms, and her death was calm and beautiful. 

Marmage of George Whitefield. — While the theme is 
before us, it may be w^ell to refer to the marriage of the other great 
Methodist leader, George Whitefield. 

When the great preacher visited Northampton, in Massachusetts,. 

254 Illustrated History of METHODisir. 

the wife of liis reverend friend Dr. Jonathan Edwards, impressed 
him deeply bv her solid excellence and intelligent piety, and he 
straightway felt impressed that marriage was at once his privilege and 
duty. He had, no doubt, left behind him in England the lady with 
whom he was as nearly in love as he ever was with any, and some time 
afterward he sent her a letter, written on shipboard, addressed to 
" My dear Miss E.," in which he gravely plunges at once into the ques- 
tion of whether she thinks herself lit to be his wife and the mistress 
of his Orphan House in Georgia. He advises that she consult the 
Lord and her other friends about the matter; says he much likes 
" the manner of Isaac's marrying Tiebekah ; " calls on the God of Abra- 
ham, Isaac, and Jacob to witness that he desires to marry her up- 
rightly ; says he thinks it his duty to avoid " the passionate expres- 
sions which carnal courtiers use ; " and then remarks — " If you think 
marriage will be in any way prejudicial to your better part, be so kind 
as to send me a denial. I would not be a snare to you for the world." 

To the parents of the lady he also wrote a letter in the same relig- 
ious strain, in which, among other pious things, he says : " You need 
not to be afraid of sending me a refusal, for, I bless God, if I know 
any thing of my own heart I am free from that foolish passion which 
the world calls loveP 

It is not surprising that such wooing by a young man of twenty- 
five failed of its half-hearted j)urpose. The next year he was more 
successful, if success it might be called, in liis addi'esses to a widow 
about ten years older than himself, whom the enthusiastic young 
bridegroom describes as " neither rich in fortune nor beautiful as to her 
person," but one " who has been a housekeeper for many years," who 
is " a true child of God, and one who would not attempt to hinder me 
in his work for the world. In that respect I am just the same as be- 
fore marriage. I hope God will never suffer me to say, 'I have 
married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' " 

Southey asserts that Whitefield's marriage was not a happy one, 
and another of his biographers coolly remarks : " He did not inten- 
tionally make his wife unhappy. He always preserved great decency 
and decorum in his conduct toward her. Her death set his mind much 
at liberty." 

Such particulars as these in the biographies of great men are some- 

George Whitefield's Marriage. 


times set forth witli apologies, as if their memories were too sacrod to 
be handled with the least approach to familiarity ; but it is just such 
touches as these that make their portraits true to life. Without some- 
thing of this kind the latent hero-worship in human nature, which is 
only a more subtle form of idolatry, would take these men from out the 
realm of history and set them up in the arcana of the gods, where 
they would as effectually rob Jehovah of his rightful glory as do the 
ancestral shades of China, the classic heroes of Greece, or the patron 
saints whose statues grace the cathedrals of papal Rome. 


^^yi-'<:Le<^^^^i^ 'i^^i:x^<Ce^_^^ 



Adam Clarke. — This immortal man, so mighty in the Script- 
ures, so lovable in his private character, and so ardent withal in his 
love for, and loyalty to, the leader and the principles of the Methodist 
revival, was born in the village of Moybeg, in the township of Coot- 
inaglugg, in the parish of Kilchronaghan, in the barony of Loughin- 
shaallin, in the County of Londonderry, in the province of Ulster, 
Ireland, sometime about 1760, though, as the parish clerk failed to 
enter him in the register of the Church, the exact date of his advent 
is unknown. 

Adam Clarke. 257 

He was a Scotcli-Irishman of English descent ; the Clarkes having 
crossed over from England in the seventeenth century, and settled in 
the region of Carrickf ergus, where the great-great-grandfather, Wilham 
Clarke, was an estated gentleman as well as a sturdy Quaker. The 
father, John Clarke, M.A., was intended for the Church, but before 
finishing his final course at Trinity College, Dublin, he became so 
charmed with a young Scotch lassie that he forsook divinity for matri- 
mony, and began life for himself as a parish school-master. 

The mother of Adam Clarke was a descendant of the Laird of 
Dowart, in the Hebrides, the chief of the clan of the Mac Leans. 

In his youth Adam was a stout lad, full of life, and not over fond 
of his books. He delighted in the wild Irish stories of ghosts and 
fairies, but for the Latin grammar, and more especially for mathe- 
matics, he had a thorough abhorrence. His father had a little bit of 
land which he cultivated according to the rules laid down by Virgil in 
the Georgics ; and Adam and his brother were employed alternately 
in work on the farm and helping one another along in the rudiments 
of classical learning, of which their father was a notable master. His 
mother was a rigid Presbyterian, and taught him the Catechism of the 
Westminster Assembly, while his father was an Episcopahan, and 
taught him the Apostles' Creed — a mixture of doctrine which suited 
the boy well enough, for he was of a religious turn of mind ; but he 
was in great danger of growing up a dunce in other respects ; the only 
studies to which he would apply himself being the English translation 
of the Fables of ^Esop, Robinson Crusoe, the native fairy litera- 
ture of Ireland, and the arts of magic, which latter was taught him by 
a traveling tinker who had strayed into Cootinaglugg. 

One day, after being scolded by the master and mocked by his 
fellow-pupils for his slow progress in his tasks, he declares that in his 
agony of shame he " felt as if something had broken within him," and, 
seizing his book, he began to study with a sense of power which was 
quite a revelation to him, and from that moment he became the 
wonder of the school.* 

During the year 1777 a Methodist preacher, by the name of John 
Brettel, began preaching in the neighborhood, in barns, stables, school- 
houses, and in the open air, and young Clarke, now about seventeen 

* " Life of Adam Clarke," page 58. 

258 Illustrated Histoky of Methodism. 

years old, was among bis most attentive hearers. His father approved 
the teachings of the itinerant as " the genuine doctrine of the Estab- 
lished Church," while his Presbyterian mother, with equal admiration, 
declared, " This is the doctrine of the Reformers ; this is the true, 
unadulterated Christianity ; " therefore the preacher was made doubly 
welcome at the school-master's httle farm-house, which thenceforth 
became a " ministers' tavern." 

After an awakening and conviction of sin, which was intelHgent, 
protracted, and at the last marked with great agonies of mind, Adam 
was soundly converted. He was already a well-learned lad, for, 
though he had been obhged to spend liis days on the farm, his nights 
afforded him time for study ; and now that he had found Christ as his 
personal and present Saviour he straightway began to show him to 
others. He would often toil from four in the morning till six in the 
evening, and then walk three or four miles to a Methodist meeting. 
He also began in earnest to study the Scriptures, and presently to 
exhort in neighboring villages, sometimes making a circuit of nine or 
ten hamlets on a single Sunday. He also applied himseK with new 
diligence to the study of mathematics, philosophy, and the languages, 
thus laying the foundation for that varied and extensive learning in 
which he ranks with the most eminent of British scholars. 

Sometime in the year 1782 one of the preachers of the London- 
derry Circuit observing the promise of the lad, wrote to Mr. Wesley 
about him, and Wesley invited him over to the Kingswood School. 
On the passage from Ireland the vessel was boarded by a press-gang, 
and young Clarke had a narrow escape from being dragged into His 
Majesty's navy. The officer seized his hand to feel if it indicated 
hard work, but found it too white and soft for his hking, and so 
passed him by as unfit material of which to make a man-of-war's 
man, and Clarke made his way to the Methodist school. 

At this time the Kingswood School was at its worst. In tlie 
following year, 1783, Mr. Wesley wrote concerning it : " It must 
be mended or ended, for no school is better than the present 
school." Poor Adam, who had arrived at Kingswood with only 
three half-pence in his pocket, found to his dismay that his coming 
had not been expected, nor was his stay desired; and so far from 
being able to profit by the course of instruction, he found himself 

' . Adam Claeke. 259 

too good a scholar already to suit the convenience of his tutor. 
Being too poor to pay his way he was lodged in a miserable little 
closet which opened off the chapel, where his scanty allowance of 
bread and milk was brought to him by a servant ; and, still further 
to his torment, he was compelled by the stewardess to anoint him- 
self all over with sulphur as a safeguard to the institution against a 
certain cutaneous disease, which, coming from that unknown region 
called Ireland, it was presumed the young man might have brought 
over with him. 

" And they Scotch people, too ! " groans out poor Adam, who 
had exhibited a cuticle as fair as a baby's, all to no purpose ; and who 
was enduring this treatment as patiently as possible till the great 
"Wesley himself should come. 

A piece of good fortune, however, brightened those miserable 
weeks. One day while digging in the school-house garden — perhaps 
by way of making himseK useful in return for the charity he was 
receiving — he turned up a bright half -guinea, with which, after vainly 
trying to find the rightful owner, he bought a Hebrew grammar, 
and this helped him to lay the foundation for that splendid Oriental 
learning in which he surpassed all the scholars of his time. 

Ordination of Adam Clarke. — At length Mr. "Wesley 
arrived at the school — the prison— the house of torture, and having 
tested the quahty of the young Irishman, he said to him : — 

"Do you wish to devote yourself entirely to the work of God? " 

" I wish to be and do whatever God pleases," was the reply. 

Mr. Wesley then laid his hand on the young man's head, and 
prayed over him ; an act which Clarke called his " ordination," and 
with which he was so fully satisfied that he never sought any othei-. 

A vacancy presently occurring on the Bradford Circuit, he was 
sent to that work. He was the youngest man in the whole itin- 
erant fraternity, being now only about twenty-two years of age, and 
of such a youthful and ruddy appearance that he was generally 
called " the little boy." But it very soon transpired that " the 
little boy " had the making of a great man. The Bradford Circuit 
was a four weeks' circuit, comprising thirty-three preaching-places, 
in as many different towns and villages ; wherefore the young recruit 
was obhged to spend a large part of his time on horseback, and to 

260 Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

preacli everj day, eacli time to a new congregation ; an arrange- 
ment well-suited to the condition of the lad, who speedily acquired 
the Wesleyan habit of reading in the saddle ; and, as one sermon 
would go a long way, he found ample time for pursuing his other 

His success was immediate and brilHant, and at the next Confer- 
ence, that of 1T83, he was admitted to membership without the cus- 
tomary probation. His next field of labor was the Norwich Circuit, 
on which he preached, in about eleven months, four hundred and 
fifty sermons, besides exhortations innumerable ; beginning every 
day at five o'clock in the morning, and regularly visiting twenty-two 
towns and villages, through a route of two hundred and sixty miles, 
much of which had to be traveled on foot, with his saddle-bags on 
his back, as there was but one horse on the circuit for four 
preachers, and he was the youngest of them all. 

His next circuit was that of St. Austell, in Cornwall, where 
Methodism now had general sway, and where his talents found a 
befitting field. His popularity at once became universal ; his con- 
gregations were so crowded that he sometimes had to climb into the 
chapel by a window, and almost every week in the year he was 
compelled to preach in the open air to crowds which no chapel 
could accommodate, where he held them spell-bound by his words 
under pelting rains and on deep snow. A general revival prevailed 
on his circuit, and from this time forward Adam Clarke was one of 
the chiefs of the AVesleyan Connection. 

His daily travels gave him daily solitude for his books, and his 
daily preaching was an invigorating exercise to his mind and body. 
Wesley himself studied more than most students, and did it on 
horseback. He says tliat by his rides he was "as much retired ten 
hours a day as if he were in a M-ilderness," and thus few persons 
spent so many hours secluded from all company as he. Clarke 
admired and imitated him, and at length mastered the Greek, Latin, 
Hebrew, Samaritan, Chaldee, and Syriac versions of the Scriptures, 
as well as most of the languages of Western Europe. He studied 
nearly every branch of literature and of physical science, and was 
honored witli membership in the London, Asiatic, Geological, and 
other learned societies, as well as with highly honorable positions 

Adam Clarke. 261 

under the Government, and in connection with the British and 
Foreign Bible Society. 

A IVarroiv Escape. — In the life of Adam Clarke, written by 
his son, an incident is related which shows how nearly this great 
biblical scholar had been lost to the Church and the world. In 1782, 
while traveling the Bradford Circuit, he chanced to find a Latin 
sentence written on the wall of his chamber, to which he added, as 
being in the same vein, these lines of Yirgil, changing the last word 
to suit the wanderings of the preachers rather than those of JEneas : — 

" Q'^^o fatcb trahunt^ retrahuntque, sequamur. Per rarios castis, 
per tot discrimina reru7n, Tendirrms in " Coelxim. 

The next preacher who saw it, by way of reproving the pride of 
the young scholar, wrote underneath these words : — 

" Did you write the above to show us that you could write Latin ? 
For shame ! Do send pride to hell, from whence it came. O young 
man, improve your time ; eternity's at hand." 

On his next round the " little boy preacher " read and accepted 
the reproof, and, falling on his knees, he vowed never to meddle with 
Greek or Latin again as long as he lived ! A long time afterward, 
coming upon a French essay which pleased him, he translated it, and 
sent it to Mr. Wesley for his Arminian Magazine^ and Wesley, who 
knew that ignorance and pride are twins, and that one of the best 
ways to drive out thoughts of self is to keep the mind full of sound 
knowledge, wrote to the young preacher accepting the piece, and 
charging him to cultivate his mind as far as circumstances would 
allow, and " not to forget any thing he had ever learned." 

Alas ! through the counsel of an ignorant, ambitious, and perhaps 
envious itinerant, Clarke had not looked at his Greek and Latin 
for nearly four years; but now he saw his error, and with the 
same teachable spirit, but under a better instructor, he begged the 
Lord to forgive his rash vow, and at once set about the task of 
recovering the knowledge he had nearly lost. 

As a preacher he was wonderfully successful. His deep devo- 
tion to learnino; won for him the admiration of scholars and the 
degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Laws from the Scotch 
University of Aberdeen, while his warm Irish heart, his pohte man- 
ners, and his Christian temper made him a universal favorite with 

262 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

the common people, who throughout the history of Methodism have 
shown such high admiration of real scholarship as to disprove the 
slander which charges the 'Weslejan re\dval with hostility to learning. 

The records of its ministry abound with the marvelous successes 
of unlearned men, whose want of hterary training was quite forgotten 
in view of the baptism of j)ower which descended upon their heads 
and hearts. In view of such successes some, both among the min- 
istry and the laity, have rushed to the conclusion that scholarship 
and piety did not agree together, and the loud, empty tone in which 
these views have been set forth have by some superficial observers 
been mistaken for the voice of Methodism itself. But, so far from 
being the rule, this is only the exception. Methodist preachers have 
made more efforts and overcome more obstacles to acquire sound 
learning than any other class of men on earth of equal numbers ; and 
Methodist congregations, though at first chiefly composed of people to 
whom ignorance was a sad necessity, have proved their appreciation of 
"book learning" by adopting as their prime favorites, in the pulpit 
and on the platform, the most largely learned and the most thor- 
oughly accomplished ministers of the Connection. In the highest 
circles as well as the lowest, native genius and rough common sense 
are preferred to pretentious exhibitions of the polish of the schools ; 
but among the lowest, not less than among the highest, as these social 
(hstinctions go, ignorance is and always was regarded as contemptible 
in those who assumed to teach religion. Courtly manners and 
splendid powers, along with genuine Christian manhood — the want of 
which nothing can excuse — so far from putting the common people of 
Methodism in an unsympathetic attitude, always warm their hearts 
and call forth their loving admiration ; and, in spite of the fact that 
so large a proportion of the approved course of hberal learning has 
been above their comprehension, and almost useless from their point 
of view, still the instinct of Methodism has upheld the academy and 
the college, and some of the brightest ornaments of Methodist pulpits 
and professors' chairs have been the children of the poor. 

When the school of heraldry shall make for Methodist preachers a 
coat-of-arms, it will surely have a man on horseback in its field ; but, 
if the artist would be true to history, the itinerant must have an open 
book before him resting on the horn of his saddle. 

Adam Clarke. 263 

Clarke's Coiiiinentary is the chief foundation of his fame; 
and few scholars since the world began have had one broader or 
deeiser. Certain recent critics have tried to superannuate this great 
Methodist classic; but it still remains on the effective list. Never 
has any other one man achieved such a triumph in biblical exposition, 
especially of the Old Testament, as this great Irish Methodist preacher 
and scholar. Unaided and alone, with the cares of great societies 
pressing heavily upon him, at a time when the materials for the 
study of the Oriental tongues were far from perfect, he explored 
the mysteries of the original Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, tracing 
them through their translations into Arabic, Persian, Latin, Anglo- 
Saxon, French, Danish, etc.; following them through the Chaldee and 
Samaritan versions, and, in order to gather up the fragments that 
nothing might be lost, traversing the vast wilderness of Talmuds and 
Targums, as well as the cognate literature of all other known rehgions. 

" In this arduous work," he writes, " I have had no assistants, not 
even a single week's help from an amanuensis, the help excepted 
which I received in the chronological department from my nephew, 
John Edward Clarke. I have labored alone for twenty-five years 
previously to the work being sent to press, and fifteen years have been 
employed in bringing it through the press, so that nearly forty-five 
years of my life have been so consumed." The first part of his com- 
mentary was published in 1810, the last in 1825. 

While preaching in London he was called into the committee of 
the British and Foreign Bible Society, and for several years its publi- 
cations in the Oriental languages were largely under his direction. 
His only other literary work of any magnitude was his " Biographical 
Dictionary " in six volumes, published in 1802, by which he made his 
first fame as an author. 

Adam Clarke's Vieirs of jtlarriage. — The wife of Adam 
Clarke was Miss Mary Cooke, an admirable and accomplished English 
lady. The marriage was an exceedingly happy one, though it was not 
brought about without a good deal of opposition. The pride of the 
parents was shocked at the thought of their daughter becoming the 
wife of a Methodist itinerant, and Mr. Wesley, learning the state of 
the case, declared that if his young preacher married the girl without 
the consent of her friends he would turn him out of the Connection ; 

264 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

but at length that great man, becoming aware of the admirable quali- 
ties of Miss Cooke, made intercession with her parents on Adam's 
behalf, and thej were married in the Wanbridge Church on the 17th 
of April, 1T8S, and about a week after sailed for his appointment 
in the Norman Islands. 

Like the most of his countrymen, Clarke was a great admirer of 
fine women, his true gallantry appearing on all occasions ; notably in 
his charming pen portrait of the mother of the "Wesleys, whom he 
regarded as the perfect model of a Christian matron. His oft-quoted 
remark in defense of matrimony, that a man ought to be grateful 
for even a bad wife, because she was so much better than none, 
shows how much happier he was than his great chief in his mar- 
ried life, and how much more natural, as well as orthodox, were 
his views of this first sacrament, this oldest means of grace. Adam 
Clarke and his wife were blessed with six sons and six daughters ; 
three sons and three daughters died in childhood, the rest, in the 
language of his biographer, being " respectably and comfortably 
settled in life." Reference has already been made to the singular 
appointment of " Adam Clarke and his wife " to the Dublin Circuit ; 
a sufiicient indication of the esteem in which that lady was held 
by Mr. Wesley. 

Adaiu Clarke's Theology. — How he escaped from the 
Churchmanship of his father, or the Presbyterianism instilled into 
him by his mother, does not appear in his biography. The whole 
family seem to have been captivated by the first Methodist preacher 
they ever heard, and it may be that the elasticity of the Irish nature 
will allow the indwelling of a whole brood of dogmatic theologies in 
a single Irish soul. 

Dr. Clarke, with his generous nature, never could have been 
any thing but an Arminian. Free grace was a doctrinal necessity to 
him : no predestination could stand in the way of any poor sinner 
who wanted to be good and go to glory. According to his hospita- 
ble ideas, the front door of heaven stood wide open day and night, 
and he was almost ready to believe there was a side door, or a back 
door, also, by which the animal creation might enter. And in this 
latter view he held with John "Wesley, who regarded it as highly 
probable, from the visions of the future world seen and recorded 

Adam Claeke. 265 

by Scripture writers, that the redemption of Christ extended to the 
whole creation, which, Paul declares, had groaned and travailed 
in pain together, awaiting this very event. There are to be new 
heavens and a new earth, and Wesley, Clarke, and other equally wise 
and liberal doctors of theology, do not see why there should not 
be on that new earth, made of the old one, representatives of the 
animal kingdom, at least all that are capable of domestication, with 
powers and dispositions as much improved in proportion as will be 
the powers and dispositions of human beings. 

There was one difficult point in the orthodox creed which Dr. 
Clarke ventured to dispute, and for which he was severely taken 
to task by Richard Watson ; namely. The Eternal Sonship of the Son 
of God. To the mind of the great Irish divine the words " Father " 
and " Son " necessarily carried with them the idea of a difference of 
age, which opinion it is the especial mission of "the eternal Son- 
ship" to deny. His notion, also, that the creature which tempted 
our first parents in the garden of Eden was not a serpent at all, 
but something of a humanish shape — a monkey or a baboon, per- 
haps — was received with small respect ; for the gorilla, which, from 
his looks, might easily be the devil, had not yet been discovered, 
nor had the theory been much mooted that through this class of ani- 
mals the rise and not the fall of the human race had been secured. 

The commentary of Dr. Clarke and the hymns of Charles Wes- 
ley are the Methodist writings which have had the widest use out- 
side of the Methodist Connection. The skill, the care, and the 
catholicity of the one has given it place among the best products 
of Christian scholarship, while the deep soul-knowledge and the 
divine inspiration of the other has been so widely felt and so 
highly prized, that now Charles Wesley belongs not only to the 
Methodists, but to the whole English-speaking world. 

In 1795, and again in 1805, Mr. Wesley conferred on Dr. Clarke 
the highest honor then within the reach of the itinerants, by appoint- 
ing him to the London Circuit, whose center was the Methodist 
cathedral — the City Road Chapel. Three times was he elected to 
the presidency of the British Wesleyan Conference, and at length, 
having won imperishable renown for himself, and worthily main- 
tained the Wesleyan succession as a Christian scholar and author, 

2G6 Illustrated History of METHODis:Nr. 

he STink under the weight of his literary labors, retired to a small 
estate called Hayden Hall, at Bayswater, then a Middlesex village, 
now a part of London, where, after nine invalid years, he departed 
this life on the 26th of August, 1832, at about the age of seventy- 

Gideon Ouseley. — The annals of Irish Methodism afford no 
more characteristic and dehghtful study than that of the career of 
Gideon Ouseley. Adam Clarke is far more famous, but he left old 
Ireland in his youth to become an Englishman for the rest of his 
life ; but Ouseley was a true son of Erin, to the manor born and 
bred, and in all respects, from first to last, an ideal Irish Methodist 

His father was a comfortable farmer in the village of Dunmore, 
in the county of Galway, in the province of Connaught, a man who 
pretended to despise religion on account of the dissolute lives of 
some of its priests and ministers, but who, nevertheless, determined 
to bring up his son Gideon for a parson, because that was a profit- 
able trade. His mother, however, was a godly woman, who taught 
her children out of the Bible, and such other good books as Til- 
lotson's " Sermons," and Young's " Night Thoughts : " rather heavy 
material, these last, for an Irishman in his childhood, but Gideon 
throve well on this course of training, inasmuch as the Bible always 
stood first on the list. 

When he was a well-grown lad he was placed under the care of 
one of the old-time country school-masters, to be fitted for that literary 
Mecca of the Irish youth, Trinity College, Dublin ; but before he was 
ready to enter his father fell heir to a fine farm in the neighboring 
county of Roscommon, which led him to change his views for his son 
Gideon, whom he now thought had a superior opening as a farmer. 

"While yet a boy Gideon married, and with his girlish bride set up 
housekeeping on a small estate given them by her father. He was a 
lively lad, of a powerful frame, a leader in muscular sports, a dashing 
horseman, a prime favorite at fairs, hurling matches, horse-races, wakea 
and weddings, full of wit, free with his money in gift or wager, and 
able to carry off his full share of punch from a drinking bout without 
becoming unsteady in the legs : a list of accomplishments which soon 
brought him to the end of his little fortune, and compelled him to 

Gideon Ouseley. 


return to Dunmore, where, in a drunken row, he was shot in the face 
and neck, by which he lost one of his eyes. Upon this he resolved 
to live a better hfe, but all his resolutions failed, and at length even 
his faithful wife despaired of his reform,. 


Sometime about the year 1T8S, when Ouseley was twenty-six 
years of age — he having been born in 1762 — a detachment of the 
Fourth Irish Dragoons was stationed at Dunmore. Among them 

268 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

were several Methodists, who hired a large room at the village inn 
where thej set up a series of open meetings that at once became a 
wonder among the peoj^le ; especially the singing of hymns, the pray- 
ing without a book, and the talk that sounded like preaching, by men 
who did not claim to be priests or ministers, and had no sign of a man- 
uscript before them. 

" There must be some trick about it." said Ouseley, and refused 
to visit the meetings ; but at last he determined to examine into it. 
The result was that he discovered more than he had dreamed of, 
for he found out from the Methodists that he was a lost sinner, whose 
only ho^De of salvation was through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ ; 
his conviction of sin became intense, and after a desperate struggle 
with the old nature, which was mightily strong in him, he one day 
fell down on his knees, alone in his house, and cried, " O God, I will 
submit ! " upon which these words of Scripture came to his mind : 
"When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, . . . and 
doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive." 
This comforted liim greatly, and he at once began to break oS his 
sins by righteousness, but it was some time before he found peace in 

The poor opinion of ministers and Churches which he had learned 
from his father now arose to trouble him. In Korae and her Church 
he had no faith whatever ; the Established Church of England and 
Ireland he regarded as cubs of the same wolf ; and as for the Meth- 
odists, they were a new people who might be of a somewhat better 
sort, but he did not like to risk himself so far as to become a member 
of " Society ;" though, feeling lonesome as he trudged on by himself 
toward the kingdom of Heaven, he occasionally ventured to attend 
the Methodist class. 

Ouseley's Conversion, after long and deep conviction 
and manv fruitless efforts to save himself, occurred on a Sunday morn- 
ing in May, in the year 1791. It was a thorough and radical transfor- 
mation from darkness to light ; a clear and distinct witness of the 
Spirit to the pardon of his sins and his acceptance with God. He 
never wearied of telhng about " that Sunday," and how, when the 
blessing came, he was able to cry out : " My soul doth magnify the 
Lord, and my Spirit doth rejoice in (xod my Saviour." 


It was a mighty and glorious conversion, and he declared it with 
all his heart, whereupon his old companions, hearing that Ouseley had 
joined the Methodists, made sure that the man must be going mad. 
Again and again the floods of grace broke over him, filling him with 
unspeakable joy, and great hungering after more righteousness ; and 
after fasting and praying for " a clean heart," as his brethren taught him 
out of the Scriptures, he came into the enjoyment of the blessing of 
sanctification, and of "the peace of God which passeth all under- 

His was just the transparent, jubilant, full-orbed nature for grace 
to do its grandest work upon — even the grace of God does not make 
great Christians out of little souls — and straightway, in the fullness of 
salvation promised in the word of God and preached by the old-time 
Methodists, he began to pubhsh how great things the Lord had done 
for him and in him. His deistieal father regarded all this as only a 
part of the vagaries naturally to be looked for in such a mind, but his 
wife, though for a time she was actually alarmed at his extravagant 
demonstrations of religious joy, came at length to understand the mys- 
tery, and accepted his Saviour as her own. 

His Call to the Ministry, of wliich he gives this account, 
is quite in harmony with all the rest of his religious experience : — 

" The voice said, ' Gideon, go and preach the Gospel.' 

" ' How can I go ? ' says I. ' O Lord God, I cannot sj^eak, for I am 
a child." 

" ' Do you not know the disease ? ' 

" ' O, yes. Lord, I do ! ' says I. 

" ' And do you not know the cure ? ' 

" ' Indeed I do, glory be to thy holy name ! ' says I. 

" ' Go, then, and tell them these two things, the disease and tlic 
cure. All the rest is nothing but talk.' 

" And so here I am, these forty years just telling of the disease 
and the cure."'-^ 

Oiiseley's Ministry amon^ the Irish Peasants. — 
Although the Ouseleys were of the higher class of Irish, who 
speak better EngHsh than the great majority of Englishmen, Gideon 
had somehow learned the old Irish tongue, and when he began to 

* Arthur's " Life of Ouseley." 

270 Illustkated Histoky of Methodism. 

preach in it to the peasants in the highways and hedges, and especially 
in the grave-yards at funerals, they listened with wonder and delight. 

The curate of his parish, who was not very well spoken of for sound 
morals, let alone theology, once preached a hot sennon against the 
Methodists, and Ouseley stood up in his pew after it was over and 
answered him out of the Scripture, for which offense against the peace 
and dignity of the Church he was near being sent to prison : the high 
respectability of his family alone saving him that disgrace, and his- 
father, who had manifested little concern about his son when he 
would come home drunk from a fair or a fight, now set vigorously to 
work to reform him of his Methodism. He threatened to disown him 
if he did not give up preaching ; but his good wife stood by him, and 
chose with him to suffer the loss of all things rather than be false to 
the call of the Lord : thus the farming ceased and the preacliiug 
went on. 

It was his habit to attend the wakes and '" berrins " (buryings) in 
all the country round, which in those days were almost always the 
most hilarious revels that the wild Irish nature and strong Irish whisky 
could produce. Every one was expected to do his best to make the 
occasion as lively as possible, by way of favor to the K^ang and compli- 
ment to the dead, and when the liquor was over-plentiful, and the 
grief was over strong, the wake was in danger of ending in a fight. 
In the midst of these mortuary carousals Ouseley would come in, and 
with the utmost friendliness, and that courtesy which is the birthright 
of every genuine son of Erin, he would manage somehow or other to 
turn the level into a very effective religious service. 

On one occasion a crowd of people were kneeling around a grave 
where the priest was droning tlie mass for the dead, in Celtic Latin^ 
when a stranger rode up and joined the mourners. As the priest 
went on with his reading in a tongue of which the poor peasants could 
not understand a single word, the stranger caught up passage after pas- 
sage, especially such as contained Scripture allusions, and translated 
them into Irish ; saying to the people, in a tone of the utmost tender- 
ness and affection : " Do you hear that ? " " Listen to that now I " 

The people were completely melted, and the priest was over- 
whelmed with amazement. After the mass was over Ouseley gave 
them a little exhortation, pointed them to Jesus Christ, by the faith 

Gideon Ouseley. 


of whom they might one day die in peace and go to heaven, and then 
mounted his horse and rode away. 

"Who is it, Father ?" asked the mourners, as he was 


" I don't know at all," said the priest ; " I think he must be an 
angel, for sure no mortal man could do the likes o' that." 

Years afterward the preacher met a man who reminded him of the 
scene, saying : — 

" Don't ye remimber the berrin', an' ye explainin' to us the mass 
that the praste was radin' ? " 

" I do," said Ouseley. 


" Ye tould us that day how to find the Lord ; and, blessed be liis 
howly name ! I've had him in me heart iver since." 

In 1797, the year before the Irish Kebellion, Ouseley, under a clear 
impression of a divine call, removed to Ballymote in the County of 
Sligo, and commenced a tour of evangelistic labor on his own account, 
and was soon honored with a place in the Black Hole of the Sligo 
barracks for " disturbing the peace by preaching." At the same time 
tlie minister of the Irish Presbyterian Church, the most correct of all 
the " regular Christians " in that island, was accustomed to perform 

272 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

the service of bis parish Church on a Sunday morning with a surplice 
over his shooting- jacket, and then spend the afternoon in hunting; 
and no one made any complaint. 

Many a poor " rebel " in the Rebellion of '98 did Ouseley visit in 
prison, and help to prepare for death ; and in order to be, like his 
Master, no respecter of persons, he studied the Missal and Cate- 
chism of the Church of Rome, as well as the theology of the Presby- 
terians, Episcopalians, and Methodists, and thus he was able to reach 
the hearts of all classes of sinners, for whom there is only one way to 
be saved. In those days of horror and blood he was often arrested, 
both by the scouts of the Government and the rebels, but he always 
preached his way out of their clutches, for it was evident that he was 
nothing less or more than a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

At the next Wesleyan Conference after the Irish RebelHon 
Dr. Coke proposed his plan for a mission among the Irish-speaking 
people of that country, and on the nomination of William Hamilton, 
who had superintended the Sligo Circuit, Gideon Ouseley was 
appointed to the work, along with James M'Quigg and Charles 
Graham. He was then thirty-six years of age. 

A Sacred Lan^uag^e. — It was firmly believed by the peo- 
ple among whom these three men were sent, that the devil could 
not speak the Irish language, and when these three singular beings 
suddenly appeared on horseback at a fair, or a wake, or a festival 
of some local patron saint, and began to preach the Gospel in the Irish 
tongue, the simple peasants accepted their words as a revelation from 
heaven, and sometimes would actually fall down before them in 
adoration, as they were wont to do before the shrine of St. Patrick 
or the Virgin. On the other hand they were often assaulted by men 
who claimed to be " respectable," and who would now and tlien raise 
a mob of those same peasants against them. 

One day a handful of mud was thrown into Ouseley's face while he 
was preaching. 

" Did I deserve that, boys ? " he asked of the crowd. 

" Indade ye didn't," answered they ; and when the ruffian at- 
tempted to repeat the insult they fell to beating him " fit to knock 
a score of devils out of him :" so volatile are the spirits of the people 
of that land. 

Gideon Ouseley. 273 

A Saddle for a Pulpit. — The fame of the Irish preachers 
flew like wild-fire all over the country. God was in the word, and 
sinners of all religions and of no religion were stricken right .and left. 
They " stormed the little towns as they rode along," not stopping to 
dismount and look for a pulpit, but preaching and praying in their 
saddles ; thus " riding their circuits " more literally than ever was 
done before. Market days were harvest days for them. They would 
ride into the midst of the crowd, start a Methodist hymn set to some 
well-known Irish air, or break out into an Irish exhortation at the top 
of their voices : and, be it known, the toj) of a voice like Ouseley 's 
was something to remember; ringing out high and clear above the 
rumble of carts and the noises of cattle, pigs, and poultry, and full 
often rising in stentorian shouts to assert itself above the din when 
some crowd of bigots or besotted rufiians would try to howl him down. 

There was no lack of audiences ; the great question was how to 
control them. Ouseley was as full of Irish wit as he was of Meth- 
odist rehgion, and he had plenty of use for both. With a cath- 
olicity of spirit and manner which was so successfully imitated by 
the great American Evangehst in his recent revival campaign in 
Dublin, this Irish missionary was ready to preach the Gosj^el to 
Protestants and Papists ahke, and from first to last through his forty 
years' career great numbers of sinners of both of these classes were 
brought to a saving knowledge of Christ. He had the sense to 
remember that there was a great deal of good at the bottom of the 
papal mummeries ; for names he did not care a pin ; therefore he 
would talk to a crowd of Romanists about the blessed Virgin to their 
hearts' content, and then wind up with a stirring appeal based on 
some of the words of " her Son." He was once set upon by a crowd 
of the peasantry full of zeal for " Howly Pome," when the following 
dialogue ensued : — 

" Clare out o' this ! We don't want ony Methodis prachin' in 
these parts." 

" See here, my dears ; just listen a bit, and I'll tell ye something 
that will please ye." 

" We wont be plased wid ony thing from the likes o' you^'' 

" Try me and see. I want to talk to ye about her ye love : the 
biesred Virgin Mary, the mother of the Lord." 

274 Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

"Well, what do you know about the Howlj Mother? " 

Oiiselej, seizing his advantage, began to tell them a story of a 
wedding to which the blessed Virgin and her Son were invited ; and 
how she induced Him to work a miracle for them by turning water 
into wine. He came presently to her instiniction to the servants, 
" Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it ;" from which text, with this 
introduction, he was permitted to preach them a rousing Gospel 

At other times he would assault their bhnd superstitions with the 
most unanswerable alignments, as thus :— 

One day a gang of furious blackguards attacked his congregation 
and attempted to force their way through the ranks of his friends, 
who strove to protect their preacher by keeping a solid circle round 
him. Ouseley stopped at once, and said : — 

" Make way for these gentlemen. I have important business Avith 

Every body was sui'prised at this, none more so than the gang of 
roughs themselves. Then, turning to the men who had come to " bate 
the life out of him," he said : — 

" My friends, are you acquainted with the priest of this parish ? " 

" We are." 

" Will you take a message to him for me ? " 

" We will. What is it ? " 

" I want to have him tell me if he can make a fly ; not a fishing 
fly, ye understand, but one of them little biting, buzzing fellows, like 
that one sittin' on the neck of my horse. Can he make a fly out of a 
bit of clay ? " 

" Shure what's the use of askin' him that ? Ony body knows he 
can't do it." 

" Well, then, my dears, if the priest can't make a little fly out of a 
bit of clay, how can he make the Lord Jesus Christ out of a bit of 
bread % " 

His antagonists were not smart enough to meet this attack on the 
popish doctrine of transubstantiation, and, feeling that they had been 
beaten in argument — a wound which sometimes hurts an Irishman more 
than a broken head — they retired from the field, and Ouseley went on 
with his discourse. 

Gideon Ouseley. 275 

Great was the power which attended their word as Ouseley, 
Graham, and Hamilton roamed the counties of Sligo, Roscommon, 
Mayo, Cavan, Armagh, Tyrone, and, indeed, over almost the whole 
northern half of Ireland ; seeking out the most neglected regions, and 
preaching of sin and salvation, " the disease and the cure." If rhetoric 
be " the art of persuasion," these men were very princes in rhetoric ; 
besides, in what is called oratory they might have been distinguished, 
if they had cared to be so. The saddle was their rostnim, and two 
peasants in a bog, or by a roadside, made them a worthy congregation : 
not that they lacked for crowds ; being often attended by great multi- 
tudes of eager, ignorant, impressible people, who hstened to this Irish 
version of the Gospel as a message straight from heaven to their own 
particular selves, and to whom these " cavalry preachers " were httle 
less than angels on horseback. 

Conversions multiphed, many of them of the same pronounced 
and demonstrative type as that of Ouseley himself, and their holy 
ecstasies were sometimes mistaken by the priests and parsons for 
demoniacal possession. One Cathohc convert, under the ministry of 
Graham, was brought to the priest of the parish to be cured of his 
"bad religion," and his reverence, it is said, actually attempted the 
miracle of casting the " Methodist devil " out of him : using forms of 
prayer appro23riate to the exorcism of evil spirits, and pronouncing 
over him, with all solemnity, these words, " Come out, Graham : 
come out of him, I say ! " But, as is so often the case with Romish 
miracles, the power in this instance utterly failed to work. 

For years these sturdy men carried their lives in their hands ; 
preaching sometimes amid showers of eggs, potatoes, bludgeons, and 
stones, and at other times surrounded by weeping, praying, loving 
multitudes, who knelt at their feet, ready to kiss the very ground on 
which they stood. Again and again they were set upon by mobs who 
were bent on "putting them out of the way," but the Lord always 
made a way for their escape. 

They frequently enhvened their sermons by hymns in the Irish 
language, while the multitude sobbed aloud, or waved to and fro, 
swayed by the simple music. Some of the hearers would be weep- 
ing ; others, on their knees, were calling upon the Virgin and the 
saints ; others still were shouting questions or defiance to the preachers, 


Illustkated History of Methodism. 

and throwing sticks or stones at them ; some rolled up their sleeves to 
attack, and others to defend them, and frequently the confusion cuhni- 
nated in a genuine Hibernian riot, the parties rushing pell-mell upon 
each other, roaring, brandishing shillalahs, and breaking heads, till 
brought to order at last bv the intervention of the magistrates or a 
platoon of troops from the barracks. 

These riots were charged against the missionaries, but to these 
criticisms Ouseley replied : — 

''You have riots in attempting to govern this people, but you 
do not, therefore, abandon yom- efiorts to govern them ; we, too, 
have confusions in our attempts to save this people, but that is no 
reason for abandoning our efiorts toward their salvation.'' 

In this wild fash- 
ion thousands of this 
wi-etched population 
were converted, set 
to studying the Bible, 
and brought into the 
fellowship of the 
Protestant Churches. 
The glorious results 
overbalanced all ob- 
jections of " irregu- 
larity," and the best 
people of the island 
at length became the 
admirers and supporters of "the black caps." as they were called 
from their habit of wearing black A'elvet caps to protect their heads 
from the weather and from blows wlien they took ofi their hats for 
preaching or prayer. 

A minister who witnessed their labors wrote to Dr. Coke: "The 
mighty power of God accompanies their word with such demon- 
Gtrative e%'idence as I have never known, or indeed rarely heard of. 
I have been present in fairs and markets while these blessed men of 
God, with burning zeal and apostolic ardor, pointed hundreds and 
thousands to the Laml) of God that taketh away the sin of the world. 
.\nd T liavc seen tlie immediate fruit of their labor: the asred and 



the young falling prostrate in the most public places of concourse, 
cut to the heart, and refusing to be comforted until they knew 
Jesus and the power of his resurrection, I have known scores of 
these poor penitents to stand up and witness a good confession ; and, 
blessed be God ! hundreds of them now adorn the Gospel of Christ 

Irish ]fIetlioclist Eiiiigrants. — Of the results of the labors 
of these Irish Methodist heroes no estimate can be given. To the 
awful horrors of the Kebellion in '98 succeeded the rush of emigration 
to America, by which many Societies were utterly broken up, and 
many others were so reduced in membership that it became necessary 
for the English Conference to take a large share of the support of the 
Irish preachers upon their own hands. During the fifteen years from 
1824: to 1839 it is estimated that ten thousand Irish Methodists emi- 
grated to America, being, of course, the very flower of their enterprise 
and strength. 

Ouseley as an Author. — Few men have been better qualified 
to deal with the shallow doctrines of Popery than this Irish itinerant. 
He knew their weakness in history as well as in logic and Scripture, 
and being, like so many of his countrymen, a natural master of de- 
bate, Avhen he made an attack on a Eoniish dogma there was but little 
of it left. If errors in religion would only remain dead when they are 
killed the truth would by this time have prevailed the world over ; but 
the history of theology bears too abundant testimony that it is but a 
small part of the work of destroying a dogma to prove that it is false. 
Do not even sensible people sometimes cherish notions in religion 
which they know are not true ? 

Ouseley's chief pubhcation, " The Defense of Old Christianity," is 
a fair-sized volume, full and running over with wit, wisdom, argu- 
ment and Scripture. The book did good service in its day in 
enlightening honest inquirers concerning the errors of Rome, and 
many are the souls who have been brought to Christ by its means. 
Other smaller publications are extant, and further illustrate the contro- 
versial skill of this Irish Methodist hero, who for forty years, with 
tongue and pen, preached the word of life to a class of persons who, 
it has been thought by most Protestant believers, were altogether 
bevond the reach of evangelical tnith. 

278 Illustrated Histoey of Methodis^l 

M'Qiiisra^ and the Irish Bible. — The other member of 
the first trio of Irish Methodist itinerants, James M'Quigg, rendered 
a memorable ser^-ice to his countrymen bv editing a new edition of the 
Bible in the Irish language, which the British and Foreign Bible 
Society published, under his direction. By his influence the plan of 
employing Bible readers was widely adopted, and so great was its suc- 
cess that in one district it was announced that forty thousand persons 
were being taught to read the Irish Bible, and more than double that 
number were hearing it read in their own cabins. As a result there 
were great numbers of converts from Romanism ; in some counties 
they were reported by the hundred at a time. 

M'Quigg, who was a scholar, a gentleman, and an able debater, as 
well as preacher, was prevented by ill health from sharing long in the 
wild missionary life of his brethren, Ouseley, Graham, Hamilton, and 
the rest ; and after his invaluable Bible work he died just as his 
grand scheme of spreading the Irish Scriptures was reaching the cli- 
max of its success. 

The death of Gideon Ouseley occurred on the 14th of May, 1839, 
the centennial year of British Methodism, in the seventy-eighth year 
of his age. In sj^ite of the weight of years " Father Ouseley " per- 
sisted to the last in his work of preaching " the disease and the cure." 
The singleness of his heart was one of the chief characteristics of 
his career. He had nothing else in the world to do but to help sin- 
ners to be saved, and whether he were in the pulpit, in his saddle, at 
a fair, on the road, or sitting in a peasant's cabin with the children 
chmbing all over him, he was ever finding in the simple sayings or 
doings of the j)eople a guide to their better judgment, or the shortest 
road to their hearts. Nor was it only among the peasantry that he 
was beloved. His native genius, wide knowledge, and transparent 
soul, gained him multitudes of admirers among the educated and 
refined ; but above all these honors was the oft-recurring joy he felt 
as some stranger would grasp his hand and say : — 

" Do you remember such a wake, or such a fair, or such a horseback 
sermon ? It was there you led me to the Lord." 

His last words were : " I have no fear of death. God's Spirit is 
my support." Graham, liis early comrade, died in 1824, and "WiUiam 
Hamilton, the chief collaborator of his later years, in 1816. 


'7 ."^;^ yjfS 



Hethoclism in Scotland. — The theological soil and climate 
of Scotland were not favorable to the growth of Methodism. John 
Calvin and John Knox had so strong a hold upon the Scottish mind 
and heart that there was httle room therein for John Wesley, Some- 
time previous to 1754 a small Society had been formed at Edinburgh, 
and in that year Mr. Wesley paid a visit to the General Assembly of 

280 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

the Clmrcli of Scotland, composed of one hundred and fifty ministers, 
of whose deliberations he makes the following record : — 

'' A single question took up the whole time, which, when I went 
away, seemed to be as far from a conclusion as ever, namely, ' Shall 
Mr. Lindsay be removed to Kilmarnock parish or not ? ' The argu- 
ment for it was, 'He has a lar^e familv, and this living is twice as 
good as his own.' The argument against it was, ' The people are 
resolved not to hear him, and will leave the Kirk if he comes.' If, 
then, the real point in view had been, as their law directs, majus 
honur/i EcclesicE, [the greater good of the Church,] instead of taking 
up five hours the debate might have been detennined in five minutes. 

" I rode to Dundee, and about half an hour after six preached on 
the side of a meadow near the town. Poor and rich attended. 
Indeed, there is seldom fear of wanting a congregation in Scotland. 
But the misfortune is, they know every thing : so they learn nothing. 

" Lodging with a sensible man, I inquired particularly into the pres- 
ent discipline of the Scotch parishes. In one parish it seems there are 
twelve ruling elders ; in another there are fourteen. And what are 
these ? Men of great sense and deep experience ? Neither one nor 
the other. But they are the richest men in the parish." 

At Old Aberdeen, the ancient seat of King's College, "Wesley was 
well received by both college and citizens, and, as the result of his 
labors, he left there a Society of ninety members. A Society was 
also fonned at Glasgow, which "Wesley visited in 1774; on which occa- 
sion, as was his custom, he attended the regular services of the national 
Church, but was not very much edified. "My spirit," he says, "was 
moved within me at the sermons I heard both morning and afternoon. 
They contained much truth, but were no more likely to awaken one 
soul than an Italian opera." 

It was "Wesley's opinion that Scotchmen would endure the plainest 
preaching of any class of persons he had met ; they would take it 
stronger and more of it than any other people on earth ; so there could 
have been no excuse for the flat sermons above mentioned. But the 
preacher of them was not alone in his wicked fashion of prophesying 
smooth things, as appears from an entry in his Journal in 1779 : — 

" In five years I found five members had been gained ! ninety-nine 
being increased to a hundred and four. What, then, have our 

Trials and Teiu-aiphs : Friexds and Foes, 


preachers been doing all this time? 1. They have preached four 
evenings in the week, and on Sunday morning ; the other mornings 
they have fairly given wp. 2. They have taken great care not to 
speak too plain, lest they should give offense. 3. When Mr. Bracken- 
bnry preached the old Methodist doctrine, one of them said, ' Yon 
must not preach such doctrine here. The doctrine of perfection is 
not calculated for the meridian of Edinburgh.' Waiving, then, all 
other hinderances, is it any wonder that the work of God has not 
prospered here ? " 

The personal quahfications of Mr. Wesley could hardly fail to 
command resj)ect and even admiration among the thoughtful people 


of Scotland ; but his influence was not sufiicient to gain for his people 
any considerable share of the respect which was paid to himseK. 
After his death Methodism did not thrive north of the Tweed, as 
appears from a mention made of it in 1826 by Dr. Adam Clarke, who 
says : " I consider Methodism as having no hold of Scotland but in 
Glaso-ow and Edinburo^h. If all the other chapels were dispersed it 

282 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

would be little loss to Methodism and a great saving of money, -which 
might be better employed." 

Early Methodist Discipline. — To those who question the 
strict personal government of John Wesley over his helpers in the 
work of the gospel, this may be a sufficient reply : "With such 
preachers and such people this was a prime necessity, not only for the 
efficiency, but also for the existence, of the Methodist Reformation. 
There were men in those days, as well as in these, who declared 
against the tyranny of their chief, but they were not the best men. 
A good soldier is obedient as well as brave. 

To us Americans " obedience " is an ugly word, and any vigorous 
efforts to enforce it by those to whom it is due, and who are respon- 
sible for its results, is apt to bring out the cry of tyramiy. As well 
may the subaltern in the army cry out against the obedience demanded 
by his general. Power to command is the safety as well as the effi- 
ciency of the battaHons and divisions in the Church mihtant, and so it 
will continue to be as long as any organized opposition to the kingdom 
of darkness is required. And, after all, does not the much-mooted 
question of conflict between hberty and authority in the Church, 
when hunted down to its lowest hiding-place in the hearts of discon- 
tented men, usually resolve itseK into another question, namely : Who 
shall rule and who shall obey ? Few men have had so strong a con- 
science against ecclesiastical authority as not to be willing to exercise it 

In the Wesleyan movement there was no occasion for this latter 
question : God had settled it liimself . There was no man except Jolin 
Wesley in the whole Connection who had either the right or the 
capacity to lead this great revival movement ; and he led it grandly 
and successfully, because, among other things, he had the courage as 
well as the wisdom to demand that his " sons in the ministry" should 
" obey" him. Between him and the lay preachers who rallied around 
him there was a vast difference and distance in learning, in social and 
clerical position, in personal abihty, and, above all, in that divine right 
of pre-eminence which came of his call to his great mission. He was 
a bishop by a higher authority than any traditional succession; the 
prelates of Canterbury and York were vastly his inferiors both in 
talents and in office ; they were ecclesiastical princes in the Church of 

Trials and Triumphs: Friends and Foes. 283 

England, while Wesley was a bisliop by the grace of God. He 
showed the true signs of an apostle ; a showing which few primates 
have made ; and, therefore, he had a right to exercise apostolic power ; 
however, it will generally appear that he was chiefly, if not entirely, 
concerned for the well-being of the souls committed to his care, and 
not for the maintenance of his own dignity. The only person whom 
he held as an equal was his brother Charles, who was both a clergy- 
man, a hero, and a poet ; but he was so full of High-Church notions 
that it was no great loss to the Societies when he settled down with 
his family in London, and ceased to serve the cause in any way except 
by writing hymns. 

The first judicial sentence passed upon an offending itinerant 
preacher was in the case of James Wheatley, a soft, discourseful 
brother, and a prime favorite with the j)eople, over whom Charles 
Wesley makes tliis lamentation : "I threw away some advice on an 
obstinate preacher, James Wheatley ; for I could make no impression 
on him, or in any degree bow his stiff neck. He has gone to the 
]!^orth especially contrary to my advice. Whither will his willfulness 
lead him at last ? " Two years afterward John Wesley speaks of him 
as a " wonderful self -deceiver and a hypocrite." He was a lewd fel- 
low, given also to lying ; and when his offenses were brought to light 
the two Wesleys, after a hearing in the presence of ten of his brethren, 
pronounced sentence of suspension upon him, in a document which 
they put in his hands, under date of June 25, 1751, and which closes 
as follows : — 

" We can in no wise receive you as a fellows-laborer till we see clear 
proofs of your real and deep repentance. Of this you have given us 
no proof yet. You have not so much as named one single person, in 
all England or Ireland, with whom you have behaved ill, except those 
we knew before. 

" The least and lowest proof of such repentance which we can 
receive is this — that till our next conference (which we hope will be 
in October) you abstain both from preaching and from practicing 
physic. If you do not, we are clear ; we cannot answer for the 

" John Wesley, 

" Chakles Wesley." 


Illusteated History of Methodism. 

" The practice of phjsic," from wliicli this first culprit was inter- 
dicted, was a frequent function of Mr. Wesley's preachers ; his book 
entitled " Primitive Physic" being so full of practical information that 
any intelKgent man, with the requisite amount of sympathy and assur- 
ance, might, with its help, be a very serviceable doctor among the igno- 
rant and the poor. It was Methodist physic as well as Methodist 
religion which the itinerants preached and practiced, and hence the 
Wesleys were right in suspending the offender from administering, by 
their name and authority, either the one or the other. 

Conference Roll in 1751. — Soon after this case of sus- 
pension there was a general examination, conducted by Charles Wes- 
ley, into the character and labors of all the preachers. 

" It was now twelve years since Methodism was fairly established. 
During that period eighty-iive itinerants had, more or less, preached 
and acted under Wesley's guidance. Of these, one (Wheatley) had 
been expelled ; six, Thomas Beard, Enoch WiUiams, Samuel Hitchens, 
Thomas Hitchens, John Jane, aud Henry Millard, had died in their 
Master's work ; ten, for various reasons, had retired ; and sixty-eight 
were stiU employed, namely : — 

Cornelius Bastable, 
William Biggs, 
John Bennet, 
Benjamin Beanland, 
William Crouch, 
Paul Greenwood, 
John Haughton, 
Thomas Hardwick, 
William Holmes, 
John Haime, 
William Hitchens, 
Christopher Hopper, 
Herbert Jenkins, 
Joseph Jones, 
Samuel Jones, 
John Jones, 
Thomas Kead, 

Jonathan Catlow, 
Alexander Coates, 
Joseph Cownley, 
Willian Darney, 
John Downes, 
James Morris, 
Jonathan Maskew, 
John Morley, 
Samuel Megget, 
Thomas Mitchell, 
James Morgan, 
James Massiott, 
John Kelson, 
James Oddie, 
William Prior, 
John Pearce, 
Edward Perronet, 

Edward Dunstan, 
John Edwards, 
John Fisher, 
William Fugill, 
Nicholas Gilbert, 
Charles Skelton, 
Robert Swindells, 
Thomas Seacombe, 
John Trembath, 
David Tratham, 
Joseph Tucker, 
William Tucker, 
John Turner, 
Thomas Tobias, 
Thomas WestaU, 
Thomas Walsh, 
Th(niuis Williams, 

Life of Fletchee. 285 

Samuel Larwood, Charles Perronet, Francis Walker, 

Hemy Lloyd, Jacob Kowell, Eleazer Webster, 

Thomas Lee, Thomas Richards, John Whitford, 

Thomas Maxfield, Jonathan Reeves, Richard Williamson, 

John Maddern, William Roberts, James Wild. 

Richard Moss, William Shent, 

"Of this number two were expelled, namely : Thomas Williams in 
1Y55, and Wilham Fngill in 1Y68 ; and forty-one left the itinerancy ; 
thus leaving only twenty-iive of the sixty-eight preachers employed in 
1Y51, who died in the itinerant work. Several of those who left 
became clergymen of the Church of England, some Dissenting minis- 
ters, and some, on account of failing health or for domestic reasons, 
entered into business, but lived and died as local preachers." 

The persecutions which had kept the zeal of the Methodists alive 
had now nearly ceased, leaving them in the peaceful possession of their 
fields of labor, with no other contentions than such as arose within 
their own circles. Abeady the itinerants began to be at ease in Zion. 
Wesley complains that " idleness has eaten out the heart of half our 
preachers, particularly those in Ireland ; " and he requested his brother 
to give them their choice : "To either follow your trade, or resolve 
before God to spend the same hours in reading, etc., which you used 
to spend in working. It is far better for us to have ten or six 
preachers who are alive to God, sound in the faith, and with one heart 
with us and with one another, than fifty of whom we have no such 

The Reverend John Fletcher. — The name and fame of 
this saintly man is among the most precious of all the historic 
treasures of Methodism. Mr. Wesley's acquaintance with him began in 
1752, and continued uninterrupted between thirty and forty years. 
" We were," says Wesley, " of one heart and one soul. We had no 
secrets between us. For many years we did not purposely hide any 
thing from each other." 

John William de la Flechere, the youngest son of an officer of 
the French army, was born at N"yon, in Switzerland, September 12, 
1729. He was early distinguished by his brilliant talents in the school 
at Geneva, to which he was sent for a classical education, and no less 


Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 


for his tender conscience and deeply religious nature. He was learned 
in the German as well as in the French language, both of which were 
spoken in the French cantons, and also in mathematics and Hebrew ; 
being, next to "Wesley and Clarke, the most scholarly man whose name 
stands connected with the early history of the Methodist revival. 

His piety and learning led his parents to mark out for him a priestly 

career, but John preferred the camp 
to the Church, giving as his reason 
that he did not feel himself worthy 
to enter the holy office. Somehow, 
also, he had conceived a hatred of the 
Geneva doctrine of predestination, as 
set down in the standards of the 
Swiss Protestant Church by its great 
prince and prophet, John Calvin ; 
and as he would be required to pro- 
fess his faith therein before he would 
be allowed to preach the Gospel, he 
resolved to lay down the Catechism 
and take up the sword. 

For this purpose he went to Lis- 
bon, where he gathered a company of 
Swiss adventurers, accepted a captain's 
commission from the King of Portu- 
gal, and was ordered to join a man- 
of-war, which was just about to sail 
for Brazil ; but a painful accident befell 
him at his hotel on the day before 
tlie vessel's departure, which kept 
him in bed for a considerable time. 
The ship sailed away without him, and 
never was heard of again. His next 
thought was to visit England, where he studied the English language, 
and in 1752 he engaged as a private tutor in the family of Thomas 
Hall, Esq., a country gentleman of Shropshire. 

Upon one occasion, when going up to London with the family, 
durinc^ a bncf halt at St. Albans, he fell in with an old woman who 



Life of Fletcher. 287 

talked to liim so sweetly of the Lord Jesus Christ that he forgot 
all ahout his party, and they were obliged to go on to London without 
him. When he rejoined them at the capital, and gave an account of 
his detention, Mrs. Hall said, " I shall wonder if our tutor does not 
turn Methodist by and by." 

" Methodist, madam : pray what is that ? " 

" Why, the Methodists are people that do nothing but pray ; they 
pray all day and night." 

" Do they," responded the tutor, " then, by the help of God, I 
will find them out if they be above ground." 

Mr. Fletcher was as good as his word. He discovered, and was 
admitted to, the Society at the Foundry, where he learned the trae 
way of salvation by faith, and after great struggles of soul he began 
to walk therein. He had always been counted very rehgious, and 
received the "premium for piety" at the Geneva University on 
account of his admirable essays on religious subjects. He had prac- 
ticed various mortifications of the body ; as fasting, vigils, sohtude, and 
other pious practices ; but now he saw himself a sinner, and cast him- 
self wholly on Christ for salvation. His conversion was clear, rad- 
ical and complete. Peace took the place of anxiety, and his efforts 
after seK-righteousness gave place to entire consecration to, and de- 
pendence upon, the work and the merits of the Saviour. His heart 
was now turned to the ministry, and through the kindness of his patron 
he was offered the Kving of Dunham, a small parish with a large salary, 
amounting to four hundred pounds a year ; but Mr. Fletcher had be- 
come interested in the people in a mining region, and had preached at 
a place called Madeley to a few wretched, neglected colliers, whom he 
with considerable effort had succeeded in bringing together, and there- 
fore hesitated to accept the brilliant offer of his friend. Madeley was 
a poor little parish, with a miserable httle old church and a salary in 
proportion, but it suited Fletcher better than Dunham, where, he 
declared, " there was too much money and too few souls," while the 
region about Madeley swarmed with vicious and neglected sinners. 
His patron, therefore, arranged with the Yicar of Madeley to exchange 
his meager living for the fat one at Dunham, thus leaving a vacancy 
at the former place, to which Fletcher was soon appointed. 

His zeal and faithfulness soon raised a persecution against him ; 


Illustrated History of ^Ietiiodism. 

indeed, in the estimation of these easj-going religionists and semi-in- 
sensible sinners, he must have been a very uncomfortable man. Find- 
ing the people did not come to church he went to seek them in their 
homes ; held out-of-door ser^aces whenever opportunity offered ; and 
when some of his parishioners excused their absence from pubhc 
worship on the ground that they were tired and sleepy on Sunday 
morning after a whole week's work, and could not wake up in time to 
make themselves and their children ready for church, he assumed the 
office of bellman, and early on the Sabbath mornings for several 
months he tramped the Madeley streets, with a large bell in his hand, 


ringing the people out of Sunday morning naps, and out of their 
excuse for staying away from the house of God. 

His preaching was with marvelous eloquence, and as pungent as it 
was eloquent. He preached against drunkenness, and straightway all 
the ale-house party were in a rage. Tliey began to interrupt his serv- 
ices by scurrilous language in church. A *• hull-bait " was attempted 
on one occasion near the place where he had announced an out-of-door 
service, and a part of tlie drunken rabble were actually plotting to set 
the dogs on the parson ; but from this he escaped by providential 
detention at a funeral. He j) reached against world liness, and the 

Life of Fletchee. 289 

magistrates and gentry joined the cry against him. He preached 
regeneration and salvation by faith, and the neighboring clergy de- 
nounced him as a schismatic. 

His liberality to the poor is said to be scarcely credible. He led a 
life of severe abstinence that he might feed the hungry, wore coarse 
garments that he might clothe tlie naked, and sometimes robbed his 
own house of necessary articles of furniture that he might sujjply the 
lack of suffering families about him. Thus, in spite of the opposition 
to his zeal and his theology, his enemies were forced to confess him a 
very saint in matters of charity. 

In 1T68 Mr. Fletcher was appointed by Lady Huntingdon to the 
presidency of her Theological School at Trevecca, which duties he as- 
sumed in addition to his Madeley pastorate. 

Mr. Benson, who was the head master of the school, says that on oc- 
casions of his visits he was received as if he had been an " angel of 
God." Prayer, praise, love, and zeal, all ardent, elevated above what 
one would think attainable in this state of frailty, were the elements 
in which he continually lived. Languages, arts, sciences, grammar, 
rhetoric, logic, even divinity itself, as it is called, were all laid aside 
when he appeared in the school-room among the students. They sel- 
dom hearkened long before they were all in tears, and every heart 
caught fire from the flame that burned in his soul." 

Closing these addresses, he would say : " As many of you as are 
athirst for the fullness of the Sj)irit of God follow me into my room." 
Many usually hastened thither, and it was like going into the Holiest 
of Holies. Two or three hours were spent there in such prevailing 
prayer as seemed to bring heaven down to earth. " Indeed," says 
Benson, " I frequently thought, while attending to his heavenly dis- 
course and divine spirit, that he M-as so different from, and superior to, 
the generality of mankind, as to look more like Moses or Elijah, or 
some prophet or apostle come again from the dead, than a mortal man 
dwelling in a house of clay ! " 

Such was the man who was forced to resign his presidency of 
Trevecca College because he was not a believer in the Genevan doc- 
trine of election and predestination. 

Lady Huntingdon had been greatly disturbed on account of some 
doctrinal views set forth by her old friend Wesley in the Minutes of 

290 Illustrated History of Methodis^^l 

his Conference in 1770, and, lest the " damnable heresy" of free grace 
should creep in among the callow young theologues at Trevecca she 
determined to test the soundness of her teachers and pupils, and all 
"who did not disavow Mr. Wesley's theology were warned to quit the 
college. This action led to the immediate resignation of President 
Fletcher and to the dismissal of Professor Benson, who says : " I had 
been discharged wholly and solely because I did not believe the 
doctrine of absolute predestination." 

The name of Fletcher is associated in the minds of many Method- 
ists with the doctrine of Christian Perfection, of which he was, and is, 
one of the ablest defenders ; and, what was better, Mr. Fletcher was 
himself an example of the theories he held. 

There are few severer tests of a man's temper than that afforded 
by religious controversy ; and to the everlasting praise of Fletcher let 
it be remembered that he maintained for years one of the sharpest dis- 
cussions with the Calvinists, involving the most vital points in practi- 
cal as well as dogmatic religion, and, though treated with severity and 
■sometimes scurrihty by his adversaries, he from first to last maintained 
the manners and spirit of a gentleman and a Christian. 

'•' Cheeks to Antiiioiiisaiiisni." — In that series of papers 
called " Checks to Antinomianism "" — which have ever since been reck- 
oned among the Methodist classics — ^he, with a sharp knife, a steady 
hand, and an even temper, dissected and exposed the malformations 
and hidden corniptions of the system of theology set forth in the 
" Institutes " of John Calvin, and in the controversial works of Top- 
lady, Powland Hill, and other divines of the Calvinistic school in the 
eighteenth century. He was a terrible adversary, not only because of 
the relentless vigor with which he hunted down the false doctrines, 
but also because of tlie faultlessness of his personal character, which 
-gave his opponents no chance to evade the force of his arguments by 
raising some side issue concerning the conduct of their author. 

The word ''antinomianism," once so common in the mouth oi 
Methodist preachers, is now so seldom heard that a definition of it mav 
be of service. It is composed of two Greek words, anti, against, and 
.nomos, law, and was used to describe that class of inferences from the 
■doctrine of " unconditional election "' whereby sinners were led to excuse 
their continuance .in sin until God, bv liis "effectual calling" and 

Life of Fletcher. 291 

" irresistible grace," should come and bring tbem to salvation. Modern 
Calvinists sometimes become angry wlien the monstrous and legitimate 
conclusions of the Geneva theory are pointed out, and modern Metli- 
odists are sometimes accused of unfairness for so doing ; but there are 
old men in the Methodist Church who can still remember the time 
when the battle between " free will " and " bond will " M-as waged witli 
yigor both in England and America, and when the great obstacle 
in the way of bringing sinnei-s to repentance was the fact that 
they had become Antinomians, and were " waiting for God's time."' 
" If I am elected I shall certainly be saved, and if I am not elected there 
is no use of repenting," was a common plea on the ]3art of those wlio 
were invited to seek the Lord ; and to Fletcher belongs the honor of 
furnishing the best armory of logical weapons with which that strong 
delusion has now been driyen oiit of the Church and almost out of tlie 

Fletcher's " Appeal." — ^Among Mr. Fletcher's parishioners at 
Madeley there were a few who felt themselves too highly respectable to 
need the plain and searcliing words in which the good vicar was accus- 
tomed to instmct the larger and poorer portion of his flock, and who 
accordingly would leaye the church when the liturgical part of the 
service was concluded, thus escaping the sermon altogether. In order 
to bring to the attention of these persons the unwelcome truth that 
rich people are sinners and in danger of going to hell as well as 
poor people, unless they "repent and believe the Gospel," Fletcher 
published a series of five sermons with the title of " An Appeal to 
Matter of Fact and Common Sense ; or, A Eational Demonstration of 
Man's Corrupt and Lost Estate," which he sent forth among his aris- 
tocratic parishioners, with the following characteristic preface — 


THE County of Salop. 

" Gentlemen : You are no less entitled to my pri\ate labors than 
the inferior class of my parishioners. As you do not clioose to partake 
vrith them of my eyening instruction, I take the liberty to present 
you with some of my morning meditations. May these well-meant 
endeavors of my pen be more accej)table to you than those of my 
tongue ; and may you carefully read in your closets what you haye 
perhaps inattentively heard in the church. I appeal to tlie Searcher of 

292 iLLrSTITATED' HiSTORY OF ^MiTmoDis^r. 

hearts that 1 had rather impart truth than receive tithes. You kindly 
bestow the latter upon me : grant me, I pray, the satisfaction of seeing 
vou favorably receive the former from, gentlemen, your affectionate 
minister and obedient servant, 

"Madeley, 1772." "J. FLETcnEB." 

Whatever the effect of this "Appeal "" on the minds of liis high-caste 
parishioners may have been, it became one of the recognized spiritual 
guides among the Methodists, and still holds an honorable place in the 
literature of the CkurcK oq both sides of the sea. 

Mrs. !Mary Fletcher. — In 1771 Mr. Fletcher was nnited in 
marriage with Miss Mary Bosanquet, a woman who was his exact 
complement ; and the two became one according to the evident inten- 
tion of Him who contrived and established the institution of marriage. 

This lady, who, if she had been a Papist, would now be venerated 
as a saint, and whose name stands first among the women who may be 
called the deaconesses of Methodism, was born at Laytonstone, in Essex, 
in 1739. Her family were wealthy, and intended her to shine as a 
lady of fasbion ; but while yet a child she became the subject of relig- 
ious impressions, through the influence of a maid-servant wbo was one 
of " the people called Methodists," and resolved to give herseK to a life 
of devotion. When her parents discovered that she was in danger 
of becoming a Methodist, for which class of persons they had no 
small disgust, they dismissed the maid-servant, took away all the 
books she had given the young lady, and afterward moved to London, 
where they endeavored to entice her into a life of pleasure. But Mary 
somehow found out the Methodist Society at the Foundiy, and be- 
came acquainted with that eminent Christian woman, Mary Ryan, one 
of Wesley's class-leaders, by whom she was led to a tiiie knowledge of 

When she became of age her father demanded that she should 
promise not to attempt to make " Christians " of her brothers, or else 
leave his house. 

The young lady answered, '" I think, sir, I dare not consent to 

'' Then you force me to put you out of my house," said her father ; 
cjid accordingly his daughter left her home and took private lodgings 

, Mrs. Mary (Bosaxql^et) Fletcher. 293 

for herself and her maid. She had a httlc fortune in her own right, 
and now devoted hei"self and it to works of charity, beconiing lirst a 
class-leader and then ou preacher. In 1763 she removed from London 
to her nativ-e town of Laj^tonstone, and established iw one of her own 
houses a charity school for orphans, where also she held the meetings 
of her Methodist Society. In addition to her home duties she made 
short preaching tours among the neglected sinners of the country 
round ; and so greai was her success and so excellent her influence 
that even Wesley was forced to admit that for tJiis woman to speak in 
the congregation, provided she did not " intrude into tlie pulpit," was 
manifestly no shame at all, but only an exception to the general rule, 
such as St. Paul himself allowed at Corinth. 

Fletcher liad become acquainted with her at the Old Foundry, 
when they were in the flower of their youth, ajid, as afterward trans- 
pired, each conceived a deep and tender love for the other; but 
he was only a tutor in a private family and a very modest young man 
withal, w hile Miss Bosanquet was a lady of fortune ; therefore he 
kept his passion to himself for twenty-five 3'ears. daring the last fifteen 
of which lie never once saw the lady he loved. But in the year 1781 
the secret came out, and the lady, who had refused all oifers of mar- 
riage, was united to one of the most lovable and loving men in all the 
world- The bride had reached the mature age of forty-two, and the 
bridegroom that of fifty-two, but their union was none the less perfect 
on that account, for the love which had been hidden in their hearts 
had all these years been fitting them for, and bringing thctu nearer to 
each other ; and thus at a period in life when matrimony is counted a 
dangerous experiment, these two souls and bodies were happily (shall 
we saj, eternally ?) united iw one. 

During the brief period of their married life at Madeley Mrs. 
Fletcher entered heartily into the labors of her husband ; built a num- 
ber of chapels for the poor, and thus established a little diocese or cir- 
cuit of their own, within which the Gospel so fully triumplied that 
those who traveled through it years afterward were often reminded 
of the labors of the saintly vicar and his devoted and talented wife. 

On \XvQ 11th of August, 1785, less than five years after his mar- 
riage, this almost peerless Christian of modern times died of pulmonary 
consumption ; let us rather say, he was promoted to a higher life. But 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

liis work was left in competent hands. For thirty years Mrs. Fletcher 
co-i tinned to be the center of a wide circle of gospel work, in which 
her fortune, her talents, and her piety made her pre-eminent. Xext 
after the Countess of Huntingdon she was doubtless the most notable, 
as well as the most widely useful Christian lady of her time. Her 
death occurred December 9, 1814. 

The profound love and admiration in which Mr. Wesley held his 
friend the Yicar of Madeley is shown in his intention to make Mr. 


Fletcher his successor as head of the United Methodist Societies. This 
momentous proposal Fletcher received in IT To; but wanting health 
for so grand a work, and, what was of more consequence, wanting a 
sense of a divine call thereto, lie declined the offer; and the event 
proved his call to be even a higher one than that of Mr. '\Vesley, for, 
instead of succeeding that great man, he preceded him by six yeare in 
his entrance upon the minstrations of heaven. 



The Fletcher Heiiiorial College and Chapel, 

erected at Lausanne, in Switzerland, is one of the many monuments 
to the name and fame of this saintly man. The Lausanne Mission, 
which was commenced in 1840, although afflicted by divisions and per- 
secutions, both political and theological, is now the center of a large 
and growing interest, and the seat of a training college for the French 
Wesleyan preachers. 

Revolt of the AMierican ColOMics.* — The great enthu- 
siasm with which the Methodist missions to America had been com- 
menced was shortly chilled by the mutterings of the War of the Revo- 
lution. Mr. Wesley, with whom loyalty to the King was a part of his 
religion, and who had now come to be 
one of the most influential men in the 
kingdom, was at first understood to be 
in sympathy with the colonists, and it 
was also well known that he was an ar- 
dent advocate of peace. In two powerful 
sermons at the old Foundry he pleaded 
for amicable settlement with the rebels 
in America ; but shortly afterward a 
j)amphlet written by the famous Dr. 
Johnson, entitled " Taxation no Tyran- 
ny," fell into his hands, and turned him 
so completely about that he revised the 
piece, making it better in several re- 
spects, as shorter, plainer, and less spite- 
ful, and then published it in his own 
name, under the title of " A Calm Address to our American Colo- 

Johnson and Wesley were good friends, and it is to be presumed 
that the above piece of business was fully understood between them. 
In his version of the case, Johnson declared the colonists to be " a 
race of convicts, who ought to be thankful for any thing we allow 
them, short of hanging." Wesley's own recollections of Georgia 
were much to the same purpose ; therefore it is not to be wondered 
at that he should incline to the opinion that these persons, who had 
* For the account of the Methodist missionaries to America, see Part II. of this volume. 


296 Illustiiated IIistoky of Meiiiodis-V. 

for many years enjoyed the clemency as well as the bounty of the 
mother country, ought now to be wilUng to do something toward pay- 
ing back the money which it had cost to estabhsh and defend them 
in their new homes across the sea. 

Of the northern colonies Wesley had little understanding, and what 
he had was misunderstanding. He knew that they were sinnei"S and 
needed the Gospel; and he could not comprehend how Christian people 
anywhere could get along without a king. He forgot how small were 
the thanks which the sons of the pilgrim fathers owed the Brit- 
ish crown, and that instead of owing money to King George and his 
Lords and Commons, the money debt was largely on the other side, for 
the costly help they rendered in fighting his French enemies in Canada, 
with whom, but for King and Parliament, they might have lived in 
peace. If John Wesley could have made a preaching tour with his 
old friend TVhitefield from Savannah to Boston he would have saved 
himself the labor of rewriting and republishing Dr. Johnson's plea, 
and have saved his friends in America no small trouble besides. 

The Coortesles of Debate. — These were days of great 
plainness of speech. Persons calling themselves gentlemen and Chris- 
tians were not above using the most violent and scurrilous language 
in pamphlets and newspapers against those who differed from them 
in opinion, ilr. "Wesley had often suffered such abuse from his Cal- 
vinistic and High-Church enemies, though his own courtesy in debate 
Avas worthy of closer imitation. Perhaps some allowance ought to be 
made for his adversaries on account of their sufferings under his terri- 
ble logic ; and having so little else with which to answer, it was only 
natural that they should rave and scold. But now the arch -Meth- 
odist had been caught in his own trap. He had at first committed 
himself to the cause of the colonists, and now he was out in a tract 
espousing the side of the King ! 

AVhy should John AVesley change his opinions? We never do. 

Thereupon the whole pack, with the pious Toplady at their head, 
rushed after their dreaded antagonist in full cry. They called him 
bad names ; they charged him with bad motives ; said he was trs'ing 
to win royal favor for himself and for his friends ; charged him 
with " stealing the thunder " of the Johnsonian Jove ; and. not con- 
tent with hard words, the Pcv. Toplady, smarting under the con- 

.Keyolt of the American Colonies. 



troversial wounds lately received at Wesley's hand, pnblislied a tract 
against him under the very remarkable title of " An Old Fox 
Tarred and Feathered!" with a frontis- 
piece to match, representing Mr. Wesley 
as Reynard in spectacles, gown, and bands. 
It is not easy to discern the exact force 
of the iigurative language used in the title 
of this remarkable piece, since foxes in 
this country are not usually tarred and 
feathered ; but jDerhaps the reverend 
gentleman's spite got the better of his 
rhetoric, and therebv mixed his figures a 
little. Why he should have been in- 
flamed with such a sudden fury of affec- 
tion for the rebellious colonists is also a fair question, and one equally 
difficult to answer, except on the theory that he did not love his King 
the less, but hated John Wesley more. And this is the very same 
Toplady who wrote that glorious hymn — 

" Rock of ages, cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in thee." 

Some of Mr. Wesley's friends, as well as his enemies, were 
inclined to censure him for turning politician. This is a point npon 
which opinions must differ ; but it is certain that the part which he 
took in this great political struggle made him hosts of enemies. 
Within three weeks forty thousand copies of his " Cahn Address " 
were printed and j)ut into circulation, and excited so much anger 
among the English friends of the revolted colonists that they would 
willingly have burned both him and his Address together : but, on 
the other hand, the Government were so well pleased with his little 
tract that copies were ordered to be distributed at the doors of all the 
metropolitan churches ; and it is said that one of the highest officers 
of State waited upon him, to ask whether the Government could in 
any way be of service to himself or his peoj^le. 

Wesley replied that he looked for no favors, and only desired the 
continuance of civil and religious privileges ; but he afterward 
expressed himself as sorry that he had not requested to be made a 

298 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

royal missionary, with the privilege of preaching in all the English 

It should not be forgotten that AVesley hated war for its own sake, 
especially civil war, in which sentiment he was far in advance of liis 
time ; and it was this sense of the wickedness as well as of the horrors 
of wholesale pohtieal murder that led him to attempt, in the first 
place, to secure the utmost consideration for the colonists, and, in the 
second place, to try to moUify the temper of the Americans by point- 
ing out to them what he regarded as the undoubted rights of the King. 
If this Christian statesman could have had his way, neither party 
would have been wholly pleased, but there would have been no war ; 
and thus the history of Christendom would have been spared the 
bloody record of seven years of outrage on the one hand, and seven 
years of misery on the other. 

In his charity sermon on tlie 12th of ISTovember, 1775, " For the 
Benefit of the Widows and Orphans of the Soldiers who Lately Fell 
near Boston, in Xew England," Wesley speaks of the terrible distress 
from which the nation was suffering. He declared that he knew fami- 
lies who a few years ago lived in an easy, genteel manner, but who 
were now driven to picking up the turnips which the cattle had 
left in the fields, and which they boiled if they could get a few sticks 
for that purpose, or otherwise ate them raw. " Thousands," said he, 
" have screamed for liberty until they are utterly distracted. In every 
town are men who were once of a calm, mild, friendly temper, who 
are now hot with party zeal, foaming ^vith rage against their quiet 
neighbors, ready to tear out one another's throats, and plunge swords 
into each other's bowels." He then proceeds to denounce in wither- 
ing terms the sins of the nation — money-getting, lying, gluttony, idle- 
ness, and profanity: to which now threatened to be added the final 
horror of civil war. 

As further proof of Wesley's good faith in this mixed matter, the 
following letter to Lord North will be of interest : — 

"Aemagh, June 15, 1775. 
'' My Lord : Whether my writing do any good or no, it need do no 
harm ; for it rests with your lordship whether any eye but your own 
shall see it. 

Revolt of the Americajst Colonies. 299 

" I do not enter upon the question whether the Americans are in 
the right or in the wrong. Here all my prejudices are against the 
Americans ; for I am a High-churchman, the son of a High-church- 
man, bred up from my childhood in the highest notions of passive 
obedience and non-resistance ; and yet, in spite of all my long-rooted 
prejudices, I cannot avoid thinking, if I think at all, that an oppressed 
peoj)le asked for nothing more than their legal rights, and that in the 
most modest and inoffensive manner that the nature of the thino: 
would allow. But, waiving all considerations of right or wrong, I ask, 
Is it common sense to use force toward the Americans ? These men 
will not be frightened ; and it seems they will not be conquered so 
easily as was at first imagined. They will probably dispute every inch 
of ground ; and if they die, die sword in hand. Indeed, some of our 
valiant ofiicers say, ' Two thousand men will clear America of these 
rebels.' 'No, nor twenty thousand, be they rebels or not, nor perhaps 
treble that number. They are as strong men as you ; they are as 
valiant as you, if not abundantly more valiant, for they are one and all 
enthusiasts — enthusiasts for liberty. They are calm, deliberate enthu- 
siasts ; and we know how this jDrinciple ' breathes into softer souls 
stern love of war, and thirst of vengeance, and contempt of death.' 
We know men animated with this spirit will leap into a fire or rush 
into a cannon's mouth. 

" ' But they have no experience in war.' And how much more 
have our troops ? Yery few of them ever saw a battle. ' But they 
have no discipline.' That is an entire mistake. Ali'eady they have 
near as much as our army, and they will learn more of it every day ; 
so that in a short time, if the fatal occasion continue, they will under- 
stand it as well as their assailants. ' But they are divided among 
themselves.' No, my lord, they are terribly united ; not in the prov- 
ince of New England only, but dovtTi as low as the Jerseys and Penn- 
sylvania. The bulk of the people are so united that to speak a 
word in favor of the j^i'esent English measures would almost endan- 
ger a man's life. Those w^ho infonned me of this are no syco- 
phants; they say nothing to curry favor; they have nothing to 
gain or lose by me. But they speak with sorrow of heart what 
they have seen with their ©"wn eyes and heard with their own cars. 

"These men think, one and all, be it right or wrong, that they 

300 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

are contending /)w arls et focis : for tlieir wives, eliildren, mid l.'l)- 
ertj. "What an advantage liave tliey herein over many that tight 
only for pay ! — none of whom care a straw for the canse wherein they 
are engaged ; most of whom strongly disapprove of it. Have they not 
another considerable advantage ? Is there occasion to recrnit troops ? 
Their supplies are at hand, and all round about them. Ours are three 
thousand miles oS.. Are we, then, able to conquer the Americans, sup- 
pose they are left to themselves, suppose all our neighbors should stand 
stock still, and leave us and them to fight it out ? But wg are not sure 
of this. For are we sure that all our neighbors will stand stock still ? 
I doubt they have not promised it ; and if they had, could we rely upon 
those 2>romises ? ' Yet it is not probable they will send ships or men 
to America.' Is there not a shorter way ? Do they not know where 
England and Ireland lie ? And have they not troops, as well as ships, 
in readiness ? All Europe is well apprised of this ; only the English 
know nothing of the matter ! What if they find means to land but 
two thousand men ? Where are the trooj^s in England or Ireland to 
oppose them ? Why, cutting the throats of their brethren in America ! 
Poor England, in the meantime ! 

" ' But we have our militia — our valiant, disci23lined militia. These 
will effectually ojDpose them.' Give me leave, rax lord, to relate a 
little circumstance, of which I was informed by a clergymen who 
knew the fact. In 1716 a large body of militia were marching 
toward Preston against the rebels. In a wood which they were 
passing by a boy happened to discharge his fowling-piece. The sol- 
diers gave up all for lost, and, by common consent, threw down their 
arms and ran for life. So much dependence is to be placed on our 
valorous militia. 

"But, mv lord, this is not all. We have thousands of enemies 
perhaps more dangerous than French or Spaniards. As I travel four 
or five thousand miles every year I have an opportunity of con- 
versino- freely with more persons of every denomination than any 
one else in the three kingdoms. I cannot but know the general dispo- 
sition of the people — English, Scots, and Irish ; and I know a large 
majority of them are exasperated almost to madness. Exactly so they 
were throughout EngUmd and Scotland about the year 1640, and, in a 
gi-eat measure, by the same means; by inflannnatory ])apers Mliieli 

•Revolt of the Americatst Colonies. 301 

•were spread, as tliej are now, with the utmost diligence in every 
corner of the land. Hereby the bulk of the population Avere effect- 
ually cared of all love and reverence for the King. So that first 
despising, then hating him, they were just ripe for open rebellion. 
And, I assure your lordship, so they are now. They want nothing 
but a leader. 

" Two circumstances more are deserving to be considered : the one, 
that there was at that time a decay of general trade ahnost 
throughout the kingdom ; the other, there was a common deamess 
of provisions. The case is the same in both respects at this day. 
So that even now there are multitudes of people that, having nothing 
to do, and nothing to eat, are ready far the first bidder, and who, 
w^ithout inquiring into the merits of the c;\se, would flock to any that 
Avould give them bread. 

" Upon the whole, I am really sometimer? afraid that this evil is 
from the Lord. When I consider the astounding luxury of the rich, 
and the shocking impiety of rich and poor, I doubt whether general 
dissoluteness of manners does not demand a general visitation. Per- 
haps the decree is already gone f oirth from the Governor of the world. 
Perhaps even now — 

" ' As he buys, sun-eys a grnnnd, 

Si) the destmying angei measure's it a?ouml. 

Cakii he swrveys tlie perishir g natiDii, 

Ruhi behind him stalks, and empfy dos kitinnt.' 

" But we Englishmen are too wise to acknowledge that God has 
any thing to do in the world ! Othenvise should we not seek him by 
fasting and prayer, before he lets the lifted thunder drop? O, my 
lord, if your lordship can do any thing, let it not be wanting ! For 
God's sake, for the sake of the King, of the nation, of your lovely 
family, remember Pehoboara ! Remember Philip the Second ! Re- 
member King Charles the First ! 

" I am, with true regard, my lord, your lordship's obedient servant, 

"John Wesley." 

" "Whatever," says Mr. Tyerman, " may be thought of the principle 
advocated in Wesley's 'Calm Address to the American Colonies,' 
namt^ly, that taxation without representation is no tyranny, there? 

302 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

can be no doubt that liis letters to tlie Premier and to the Colonial 
Secretary are full of warnings and foresight "u-hich were terribly ful- 
filled ; and for fidelity, fullness, and terseness, were perhaps without 
a parallel in the correspondence of these ministers of State." This 
bold address added fuel to the fire, notwithstanding one of his 
reviewers declares it to be "as dry as an old jiiece of leather that 
has been tanned five thousand times oyer ;" while the preacher him- 
self was denounced as '"' a tip-top perfectionist in the art of lying." 

Hore ItVesIeyaii Polities. — The "Calm Address to the 
Colonists" produced such a sensation that in 1777 Mr. "Wesley was 
moved to issue another " Calm Address to the Inhabitants of England," 
in which he endeavors to convince his countrymen that they are 
already in the enjoyment of greater liberties than are the colonists 
who are fighting for freedom, that, in the confederate provinces 
of America, after bawling for liberty, no liberty is left ; that 
liberty of the press, religious liberty and civil liberty are nonentities ; 
that the lords of Congress are as absolute as the Emperor of Morocco ; 
whereas in England the fullest liberty is enjoyed as to religion, life, 
body, and goods. He confesses that there are some Methodists 
who hate the King and all his ministers, but as for hunseK, he would 
no more continue in fellowship with such persons than with Sabbath- 
breakers, or thieves, or common swearers. 

For once in his life Wesley's loyalty outran his common sense. 
Almost immediately his enemies rushed into ]3rint to abuse him, repre- 
senting him as " spouting venom," calling him " Father Johnnie," 
accusing him of telling barefaced lies ; and in the " Gospel Magazine " 
a poem was published, revihng him in unmeasured terms, closing with 

this couplet : — 

"O think of this, thou gray-haired sinner, 

"Wlien Satan picks thy bones for dinner." 

Rowland Hill vs. John W^esley.— At the laying of the 
corner-stone of the City Road Chapel Mr. AVesley re-asserted the 
loyalty of himself and his followers to the Established Church of 
England. He made also an unhappy reference to the separation 
between himself and the late Mr. AVhitefield, (an account of whose 
closing years and death in America will be found in Part II.,) because 
of the strong prejudice of the latter against the Church, into which 

• EowLA^D Hill vs. Joim AVesley. 303 

state of mind tliat good man liad been beguiled by conversing with 

As might liavc been expected, tliis roused the fury of some of his 
old antagonists, and the Rev. Rowland Hill rnshcd into print with a 
scnrrilons pamphlet of forty pages, entitled, "Imposture Detected, and 
the Dead Vindicated ; in a Letter to a Friend : contaim'ng some gentle 
Strictures on the False and Libelous Harangue lately delivered by Mr. 
John Wesley, upon his laying the first stone of his new Dissenting 
Meeting-house, near the City Road." "Wesley's sermon is described as 
" a M'retched harangue, from which the blessed name of Jesus is almost 

^^ "•^vmpig^ "^ij^^f^^jT^ 

J^^/" ^Ui 

totally excluded." " By only erasing about half a dozen lines from 
tlie whole," says the Rev. Mr. Hill, "I might defy the shrewdest of 
his readers to discover whether the lying apostle of the Foundry be a 
Jew, a Papist, a Pagan, or a Turk." He speaks of " the late ever-mem- 
orable Mr. Whitefield " being " scratched out of his grave by the claws 
of a designing w^olf ," meaning, of course, Wesley : he brands Wesley as 
" a libeler," " a dealer in stolen wares," and " as being as unprinci])led 
as a rook and as silly as a jackdaw, first pilfering his neighbor's 
plumage, and then going jiroudly foi'th, displaying his borrowed tail 

o04 Illustrated History of METiioDisir. 

to the eyes of a laugliing -world.'' "Persons that are toad-eaters to ^Ir. 
Jt)lin Wesley stand in need of very wide throats, and that which 
he wishes them to swallow is enongh to choke an elephant.'' " Venom 
distills from his graceless pen." "Mr. AYhitefield is blackened by 
the venomous quill of this gray-headed enemy to all righteousness." 
" AVesley is a crafty slanderer, an unfeeling reviler, a liar of the most 
gigantic magnitude, a wretch, a miscreant apostate, whose perfection 
consists in his perfect hatred of all goodness and good men." " You 
cannot love the Church unless you go to Wesley's meeting-house ; nor 
bo a friend to the established bishops, priests, and deacons, unless you 
admire AVesley's ragged legion of preaching barbers, cobblers, tinkei-s, 
scavengers, draymen, and chimney-sweepers ! " 

The " Gospel Magazine," under the editorship of the touchy Top- 
lady, joined in the cry against his old adversary, and justified the bru- 
tality of the pamj^hlet in question by saying, " "When you take Old 
Xick by the nose it must be with a pair of red-hot tongs." " The 
truth is," says this " gospel " editor, " Mr. Whitefield was too much a 
Churchman for Mr. Wesley's fanaticism to digest. O ye deluded fol- 
lowers of this horrid man, God open your eyes, and pluck your feet 
out of the net, lest ye sink into the threefold ditch of antichristian 
error, of foul Antinomianism, and of eternal misery at last I " 

Mr. Wesley replied in a manner the courtesy of which is remarkable 
when it is considered that his two vilifiers were then a couple of auda- 
cious young aspirants for controversial fame, while Wesley was a ven- 
erable clergyman of seventy-four years of age, a great rehgious leader, 
a man of boundless self-sacrifice, and one of the best scholars and most 
highly. respected gentlemen of his time. 

Like the two lions encountered by Bunyan's Pilgrim, Iligh-church- 
ism and llioh-Calvinism roared and racked at the chief of all the Moth- 
odists, whose greatest offense was his unapproachable success : but like 
those other savage beasts, these also were chained, one by diWne provi- 
dence, and the other by divine grace. A general howl now arose 
against " that old fox," as Mr. Wesley was called : satires, tracts, plays, 
squibs, and every imaginable indignity in words, were poured out 
against him, as if a menagerie had been stampeded, and all the beasts 
were trying which could most loudly assert itself. To all this 
abuse, which was raised by his simple statement of a fact in the life o-f 

City Road Chapel. 305 

his friend and pupil, and wliicli was no slander whether it were false 
or true, Mr. AVesley replied brielly, defending the correctness of his 
assertions, but never suffering himself to lose his temper in the debate. 
"Where," he asks, in one of his letters to his traducers, "have I, in 
one single sentence, returned them railing for railing ? I have not so 
learned Christ. I dare not rail, either at them or you. I return not 
cnrsing, but blessing. That the God of love may bless them and you 
is the prayer of your injured, yet still affectionate brother, Jolin 

Thus did " Pope John," as Toplady spitefully calls him, vindicate 
liis character as well as his cause. 

Mr. Tyerman almost apologizes for setting forth such unpleasant 
facts, which are necessarily so damaging to the opponents of Method- 
ism, but by ^cli a showing he has done good service to the Church. 
Hill, Toplady, and the rest were public men, and had no right to 
liide their heads when there were blows to take as M-ell as blows to 
give, nor can their theological successors comjjlain if their memory 
pays the penalty due to their oliense. Even in our day men are some- 
times denounced as liars for telling unpleasant truths. 

But there is another value to these records of the bitterness and 
personal vulgarity so painfully apparent in the religious controversies 
of those days. These hard words serve as mile-stones to mark the prog- 
ress of Christendom in taste and temper. The great religious leadei-s 
of our own time are sometimes attacked with scurrility and traduced 
with infamous slanders ; still it is not done by professed Christians in 
" Gospel Magazines," but by atheists and apostates in columns which 
beyond mistake are publislied in the interest of sin. As tested by 
the temper of doctrinal debate, Christian cultivation has doubtless 
made great progress in the last hundred years. 

City Road Chapel.- — In spite of all the excitements and 

commotions with which England, as well as the colonies, was distracted 

during the years of the American war, Methodism continued to 

prosper. Preaching-houses were springing up all over England and 

Wales, and the Old Foundry in London was overwhehned with people. 

Tlie London Methodists were also now more wealthy as well as more 

numerous, and there was an evident occasion for a more churchly 

editice in the British capital. Besides this, Mr. AVesley only held a 


Illustrated Histoey of JVIethodis-al 

lease of tlie Foundry, and at its expiration, wliicli would now soon 
occur, tlie building was to be pulled down ; he therefore started a sub- 
scription for a " Xew Foundry," and at three public meetings raised 
for that puq^ose the sum of a thousand pounds. In April, 1777. he 
corner-stone of the building was laid, and on Sunday, November 1, 
177S, it was opened for public worship. The design was to build "an 
elegant chapel, such as even the Lord-Mayor might attend without 
any diminishing of his. official dignity," and that it should be wholly 
supplied by ordained clergymen of the Estabhshed Church on Sun- 
days, when the liturgy should be constantly read at both morning and 


evening service. No layman, so-called — that is, no itinerant preacher 
not episcopally ordained — was allowed to officiate within its walls, 
except on week-days. Charles Wesley, Thomas Coke, and John Rich- 
ardson were to be its only Sabbatic priests ; Pawson, Rankin, Ten- 
nent, Olivers, and others, though better preachers than any of the 
trio not being admitted, because their heads had not been " touched 
"by a bishop's fingers." * 

The result of this arrangement, however, was a great falling off in 
-congregations, until the trustees of the chapel waited on Charles 
• TteJuian's " Lilc of Wealev." 

City Ro^vd Chapel. 


Wesley witli a request that he would not j)reach so often at Citj Road 
Chapel, as the Xew Foundiy was called — from the name of the street 
in which it stood — but would sometimes allow the lay preachers 
to take his place. Poor Charles reluctantly submitted, but he wrote 
to his brother, casting all the blame on the poor Dissenters, and stating 
that it was wholly owing to their deep-rooted prejudices against the 
clergy of the Estabhshed Church that these events had ti-anspired. 
For many years the men sat on one side of the chapel and the 


women on the other, and although large numbers paid for seats, no 
one was allowed to call a seat or a pew his own. 

Mr. Wesley thought highly of his taste and judgment in matters 
of church architecture, and the New Foundry was the best realization 
of his views ever attained. So well pleased was he with it that he 
would have been glad to have it prescribed as the model after which 
all other Methodist chapels should be built ; and, indeed, such it was 
for many years, its plain and simple front having more duplicates 
than any other building ever erected for the worship of God, unless it 

308 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

might be the " octagon chapels," of which occasional mention is made 
in early Methodi&t annals. As a specimen of that extinct species of 
architecture may be mentioned the Methodist chapel at Heptonstall, 
an editice erected in 1797 in the rough country near the forest of 
Ilardwick, famous in history and song as the scene of the wild 
exploits of Robin Hood. On accwiist of its peculiar shape there 
were no carpenters in the country round who were equal to the task 
of constnicting a roof to cover it, and that essential portion of the 
structure had to be made elsewhere and brought to the place in wagons ; 
its arrival being celebrated with special religious service ; after which, 
crowds of people, both men and women, sought for tlie privilege of 
helping to put the mysterious sky-piece of their chapel together. 

A Decline. — The Conference of 1779 showed a decrease of mem- 
bership in twenty of the circuits, including London. The reasons 
assigned were — 

" 1. Partly the neglect of outdoor preaching, and of trying new 
places. 2. Partly prejudice against the King, and speaking evil of 
dignities. 3. But chieflyr the inerease of worldly-mindedness and con- 
formity to the world. Tt was also resolved that no one speaking evil 
of those in authority, or prophesying evil to the nation, should be a 
Methodiist preacher. Itinerants were- reproved for hastening home to 
their wives after preacliing ; and were told they ought never to do this 
till they had met the Society. To revive the work in Scotland the 
preachers were directed to preach in, the open air as much as possible, 
to try every town and village, and to visit every member of Society 
at home." 

Besides att this there were internal troubles, which Avere caused by 
the peevishness and pretensions of Charles Wesley, who could never 
forget that himself and liis brother were ordained clergymen, and that 
the itinerant preachers were not. John Pawson, one of the chiefs, has 
left this striking record : — 

" I was perhaps as well acquainted with the two brothers as any 
man now living. That Mr. Charles Wesley was of a very suspicious 
temper is certainly true ; and that Mr. John Wesley had far more 
charity in judging of pei*sons in general (except the rich and great) 
than his brother had is equally true ; but that he was so apt to be 
taken in witli appearances is not true. He was well able to form a 

Trials and Tkiumphs: Friends and Foes. 309 

judgment of particular i^ersons, and was as seldom mistaken as his 
brother, I once heai-d him pleasantly saj: 'My brother suspects 
every body, and he is continually imjjosed upon; but I suspect 
nobody, and I am never imposed uix)n.' It is well known that Mr, 
Charles Wesley was much prejudiced in favor of the clerg}^ through 
the whole com-se of his life, and that it was nothing but hard necessity 
tliat obliged him in any degree to continue the lay preachers. He 
must have been blind indeed not to have seen that God had given to 
many of them, at least, very considerable ministerial gifts, and that he 
attended their labore with great success ; but I am well persuaded that, 
could he have found a sufficient number of clergymen to have car- 
ried on the work of God, he would soon have disowned all the lay 

" Mr. Charles was inclined to find out and magnify any supposed 
fault in the lay preachei-s ; but his brother treated them with respect, 
and exercised a fatherly care over them. I am persuaded that from 
the creation of the world there never existed a body of men who 
looked up to any single person with a more profound degree of rev- 
erence tlian the preachers did to Mr. Wesley ; and I am bold to say 
that never did any man, no, not St. Paul liimseif, possess so high a 
degree of power over so large a body of men as was possessed by 
him. He used his power, however, for the edification of the people, 
and abused it as little, j^erliaps, as any one man ever did. When any 
difliculty occurred in governing the preachers it soon vanished. The 
oldest, the very best, and those of them that had the greatest influ- 
ence, were ever ready to unite with him, and to assist him to the 
utmost of their power. The trath is, if the preachers were in any 
danger at all, it was of calling Mr. Wesley ' Rabbi,' and implicitly 
obeying him in whatsoever he thought proper to command." 

But there was another side to this ])icture. The body of preacli- 
ei's had now increased to one hundred and sixty men, among whom 
were some who began to demand a voice in the matter of their appoint- 
ments, which claim Mr. Wesley would not allow for one moment, and 
in ITTt^ expelled one of his best preachers, Alexander M^Xabb, for 
setting up the view that it was the Conference, and not Mr. Wesley, 
by whom the appointments were nlade. At the Conference of 1779 
this excellent man had been appointed to the Bristol Circuit, which 

310 Illustrated Histoey of Methodisji. 

included Bath : but not long after a Rev. Mr, Smjth, from the north 
of Ireland, bronght his wife to Bath for the benefit of her health, and 
Mr. "\Yesley, who knew and admired him, desired that he should 
preach at the Methodist chapel in that town every Sunday evening. 
Against this Mr. M'Nabb rebelled, and in consequence was informed 
that there was no more call for his services as a Methodist preacher 
" till he was of another mind." "Above all," says Wesley, " you are 
to preach when and where I appoint." 

By this imhappy event the Bath Society was torn to pieces, and 
Wesleyan Methodism itself narrowly escaped a similar fate. How- 
ever, there was only one John TVesley in the world, and he would not 
be in it long. His preachers loved him as a father while they honored 
him as a spiritual ruler : thus the crisis passed without a schism, and 
the sturdy autocrat of all the Methodists still retained his crozier, 
holding it all the more firmly, perhaps, because it was now so evident 
that he had learned to handle the sword. 

In any compact and aggressive body, be it civil, mihtary, or rehg- 
ious, the very first requisite is a man who can command. There are 
plenty of men who can scold, and strut, against whose show of power 
it is natural for brave spirits to rebel. Such a one will not be long in 
sinking to his proper level ; but when a great, true man appears, who 
has the element of authority in him — who by natnral might, as well 
as by acquired right, can secure ol>edience through the power of a 
regal will— that man is admii-ed by those who ix)ssess thelheroic spirit, 
and, instead of fretting at his orders, they are proud to obey them. 
It is not patriotism in the soldier to raise rebellion against the general- 
in-chief, neither is it love of the Church which leads restless spirits 
therein to denounce the power and governments which are founded 
in divine providence and the eternal fitness of things. 

Mr. M'Nabb, his friends and his successors, may all have been great 
men, but at this distance of time they appear to have been small 
enough to lose themselves in the confusion they raised over the ques- 
tion of which of two men should have the privilege of preaching for a 
few months in the Methodist chapel at Bath. This man owed to John 
"Wesley, under God, the opportunity of being a Methodist preacher at 
all : it was "Wesley who gave him the Batli pulpit, to be held subject 
to "Wesley's direction until he should fill it with some other man^ 

. Streis^gtii of Methodism Dfl780. 311 

But M'Nabb, once in his place, rebelled against tlie orders of his 
snjierior, from whom he was willing enough to receive favors, but 
whom he was not willing to obey. It does not help his reputation 
that he attempted to make his case a representative one, and thus 
became the head of a party of revolt in the Conference against its 
rightful chief. Selfish ambition never loses an opportunity of in- 
trenching itself behind some "great principle," and has large and 
respectable names for petty jealousies. Fortunately Wesley was equal 
to the occasion : he took off the epaulets of this mutinous lieutenant, 
and the Methodism of Great Britain honored him for the act. 

Some of Wesley's biographers plead for him in this case as if he 
were an offender entitled to mercy by reason of his previous good char- 
acter ; let it rather be set down to his praise that he had the sagacity 
and the courage to maintain his god-given prerogative, and thus to 
take his place in Methodist history not as a politician but as a king. 

In the following year Mr. M'Nabb was reinstated in the ministry, 
much to the disgust of Charles Wesley, and his subsequent appoint- 
ments were honorable both to Mr. Wesley and himself. If Wesle^ 
was great in his authority, he was still greater in his magnanimity. 

Ntren^tli of Metliodlsin in 1780. — During the ten years 
from 1770 to 1780 Methodism increased with encouraging rapidity. 
The following are the figures : in 1770 the number of circuits, M^as 50 ; 
the number of itinerant preachers, 123 ; the number of members, 
29,406. In the year 1780, the number of circuits, was 64 ; of preach- 
ers, 171 ; and of members, 43,830. There was also a corresponding 
increase in the amount of money raised for education and charity. 
The above is exclusive of the West Indian missions, and the 42 preat.'h 
ers and 8,504 members in America. 




IX his old age John AV'esley was one of the most lionored as well as 
influential men in the three kingdoms. Methodism had now become 
an established fact — a leading feature in the religions life of Great 
Britain ; and the furious opposition which it at firet encountered, 
not only from the rjibble but also from certain of the magistrates and 
clerg}% had given place to toleration and respect. 

In 1784 there were no less than three hundred and iifty-nine Meth- 
odist chapels in England, Ireland, and Scotland, besides unnumbered 
regular preaching phu'XiS of a humbler style. There were Methodist 
local preachers in large numbere both in the aniiy and navy ; and the 
hym^i^ of Charles Wesley were sung with heartiness and pathos at many 
a class-meeting in Ilis Majesty's barracks, and between the decks of 
His Majesty's men-of-war. 

Wesleyan Ordin^atioks. 313 

Wesley's Clerical Friends.— Success always carries with it 
a certain dignity wliich commands respect, and when that success is in 
tlie highest possible hue of effort, namely, the preaching of the Gospel 
for the salvation of souls, it carries with it also the presumption that 
he who achieves it is favored in heaven as well as honored amonir 
men. Xo Englishman had ever received such tokens of the divine 
favor as those which on all hands surrounded this chief Methodist, and 
it was now quite safe, and even popular, to profess a high opinion 
both of the man and his work. 

There were even a few of the clergy of the Establishment who 
claimed friendship with him, though they would not have carried that 
friendship so far as to invite him into their pulpits. Even the saintly 
Fletcher of Madeley, though he opened his heart to Wesley, Avas 
somewhat trammeled by his churchly relations, and could not at all 
times meet him as a clergyman on equal terras. But that was a tri- 
fling matter to a man who had hundreds of pulpits of his own ; that is 
to say, as much his own as the pulpits of his clerical friends were 
their own. 

Besides this faithful friend and brave defender, Wesley had a few 
loving brethren scattered in parish Churches over the kingdom, or 
doing the work of evangelists after a fashion of their own. Amono- 
these was his old friend and counselor, Yincent Perronet, Yicar of 
Shoreham; Henry Yenn, Curate of Clapham ; Martin Madan, the 
briUiant evangelist ; the wealthy and generous Berridge, Yicar of 
Everton ; the scholarly and zealous Eomaine, one of Lady Huntino-- 
don's chaplains, and afterward Kector of St. Andrew's in London ; and 
Grimshaw, of Haworth, whose name appears several times in the 
records of Mr. Wesley's conferences. These men, with perhaps a few 
others, had the sagacity to perceive and the piety to confess that John 
Wesley was not a worse but a better son of the Church for being also 
a Methodist ; and well would it have been for all concerned if this view 
of the case could have prevailed in all the circles of churchly power. 

"W^esleyan Ordinations.— The close of the War of the Eevo- 
lution, resulting in the Independence of the American Colonies, ren- 
dered some action necessary on Mr. Wesley's j^art to save the Methodist 
Societies in America from losing their connectional character. His 
ordination of Thomas Coke as " Superintendent of the Methodist So- 

314 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

cieties in America," being a vital portion of the liistory of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, an account thereof will be given in the second 
part of this volume. It was an act by which Wesley placed himself 
officially at the head of the Methodist body of which he was the 
actual head before, and one for which he has been both honored and 

Having now taken the momentous first step, the second was com- 
paratively easy, and in July, 1T85, he "set apart three well-tried 
preachers"' — John Pawson, Thomas Ilanby, and Joseph Taylor, to min- 
ister in Scotland. 

The remainder of Wesley's ordinations Mr. Tyerman dismisses in a 
single paragraph, as follows : — 

" A year afterward, at the Conference of 1T8G, he ordained Joshua 
Keighley and Charles Atmore, for Scotland ; William Warrener, for An- 
tigua ; and William Hammet, for Newfoundland. A year later five 
others were ordained ; in IT 78, when Wesley was in Scotland, John 
Barber and Joseph Cownley received ordination at his hands ; and at 
the ensuing conference seven others, including Alexander Mather, 
who was ordained to the office not only of deacon and elder, but of 
superintendent. On Ash Wednesday, in 1789, Wesley ordained 
Henry Moore and Thomas Kankin ; and this, we believe, completes 
the hst of those upon whom Mr. Wesley laid his hands. All these 
ordinations were in private ; and many of them at four o'clock in the 
morning. Some of the favored ones were intended for Scotland, some 
for foreign missions, and a few, as Mather, Moore, and Eankin, were 
employed in England. In most instances, probably in all, they were 
ordained deacons on one day and on the day following received the 
ordination of elders, Wesley giving to each letters testimonial." 

Alexander Jflatlier Ordained as Superintendent. — 
But what was that office of '■''superintendent to which Alexander 
Mather was ordained ? and why is this " superintendent " classed with 
the " sev'en others " who were only ordained as " deacons " and 

If the British Methodist Conference had not rejected the " super- 
intendent " whom Bishop Wesley ordained, and by which act he 
showed his intention of continuing in England, as well as of setting 
up in America, an episcopal form of Church government, tlie " Life 

Wesley AN ORDiNA'noNS. 315 

and Times of John Wesley," by his otherwise most admirable his- 
toi'ian, would, doubtless, have contained something more than the 
above hasty dismissal of Wesleyan ordination, whose more extended 
treatment may be found in Part II of this volume. 

Mr. Wesley's clerical friends were greatly offended at these ordi- 
nations, by which the modern usage of the Church of England was 
transgressed, and Charles Wesley j)Ours out his grief in a strain which 
is, however, less pathetic than amusing. In a letter of his under 
date of April 28, 1YS5, the following mournful words occur : — 

" What are your poor Methodists now ? Only a new sect of Pres- 
byterians. And after my brother's death, which is now so near, what 
will be their end ? They will lose all their influence and importance ; 
they will turn aside to vain janglings ; they will settle again upon 
their lees ; and, Hke other sects of Dissenters, come to nothing." 

It is a significant fact, that although Wesley was blamed by certain 
clerical authorities for taking upon himself to perform the functions 
which, by common consent, were the exclusive prerogative of the 
bishops, yet, upon his public statement of his traditional as well as 
providential right as a presbyter of the Church of England and the 
head of "the people called Methodists" to ordain a ministry for 
them, no one ventured to summon him before an ecclesiastical court 
to be tried for breach of Church discipline ; which is strong presump- 
tion that on a private and careful review of his conduct, and of the ai'gu- 
ments with which he defended it, the Church authorities were convinced 
that Wesley was right. Whatever the j^rivate conclusions may have 
been, the plain and simple fact , remains, that no official notice was 
taken of Wesley's acts of ordination, and from first to last he remained 
an unchallenged member of the English Church. 

The Deed of Declaration. — Another great event in this 
eventful decade (17T5-85) was the legal establishment of the Method- 
ist Conference by Mr. Wesley's famous " Deed of Declaration :" — 

At the time of the Leeds Conference, in 1784, there were three 
hundred and fifty-nine Methodist chapels in Great Britain, the most 
of which, if not all, were held by ti-ustees under the provisions of the 
so-called "Deed of Settlement," drawn up by Mr. Wesley, which pro- 
vided that these premises should always be held for the free use of 
Mr. Wesley and the preachers whom he should, from time to time, 

316 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

appoint to preaxih in them. In the event of liis deatli tliis riglit was 
secured to his brother Charles, and then to the Rev. William Grim- 
shaw, provided he outlived Charles Wesley, and after the death of 
these three persons the chapels were to be held in trust for the use of 
such ministers as might be appointed at the " yearly Conference of the 
people called Methodists," provided they preached no otlier doctrines 
than those contained in Wesley's Notes on the New Tes^ament, and 
his four volumes of sermons. " The yearly Conference of the people 
called Methodists " was a phrase which needed a legal definition, and 
it was to furnish such definition that, on the 28th of February, 1Y84, 
Mr. Wesley executed the famous " Deed of Declaration," w^hicli, a few 
days after, was enrolled at the High Court of Chancery, and thence- 
forth became the legal Charter or Constitution of the Wesleyan Meth- 
odist Societies. 

The Deed of Declaeation. 

To ALL to wliom these presents shall come, Joiix Wesley, late of Lincoln Col- 
lege, Oxford, but now of the City Boad, London, Clerk, sendeth greeting: 
Whereas divers buildings, commonly called chaj^els, with a messuage and 
dwelling-house, or other appurtenances, to each of the same belonging, situate in 
various parts of Great Britain, have been given and conveyed, from time to 
time, by the said John Wesley to certain persons and their heirs, in each of the 
said gifts and conveyances named ; ■which are enrolled in His Majesty's Higli 
Court of Chancery, upon the acknowledgment of the said John Wesley, (pursu- 
ant to the Act of Parliament in tliat case made and provided,) upon trust, that 
the trustees in the said several deeds respectively named, and tlie survivors of 
them, and their heirs and assigns, and the trustees for tlie time being, to l)e 
elected as in the said deeds is appointed, should permit and suffer the said John 
Wesley, and sucli other jjerson and persons as he shoukl for that purpose from 
time to time nominate and appoint, at all times during liis life, at liis will and 
pleasure to have and enjoy the free use and benefit of the said premises, that lie 
the said John Wesley, and such person or persons as he should nominate and 
ajjpoint, might therein preach and expound God's holy word: and upon further 
trust, that the said respective trustees, and the survivors of them, and their heirs 
and assigns, and the trustees for the time being, should permit and suffer Charles 
Wesley, brother of the said John Wesley, ,aud such other jierson and persons as 
the said Charles Wesley should for that purpose from time to time nominate 
and appoint, in like manner during his life, to have, use, and enjoy the said 
premises respectively for the like purposes as aforesaid : and after the decease 
of the survivor of them, the said John Wesley and Charles Wesley, then upon 
further trust, that the said respective trustees, and the survivors of them, and 

The Deed of Declaeatiois". 317 

tlieir lieirs and assigns, and the trustees for the time being forever, sliould per- 
mit and suffer such person and persons, and for sucli time and times, as should 
be appointed at the yearly Conference of the people called Methodists in Loudon, 
Bristol, or Leeds, and no others, to have and enjoy the said premises for the 
purposes aforesaid : and whereas divers persons have, in like manner, given or 
conveyed many chapels, with messuages and dwelling-houses, or other appurte- 
nance?, to the same belonging, situate in various parts of Great Britain, and also 
in Ireland, to certain trustees, in Ciich of the said gifts and conveyances respect- 
ively named, upon the like trusts, and for the same uses and purposes as aforesaid, 
(except only that in some of the said gifts and conveyances, no life estate or 
other interest is therein or thereby given and reserved to the said Charles 
Wesley:) and whereas, for rendering effectual the trusts created by the said sev- 
eral gifts or conveyances, and that no doubt or litigation may arise with respect 
unto the same, or the inteqjretation and true meaning thereof, it has been thought 
expedient, by the said John Wesley, on behalf of himself as donor of the several 
chapels, with the messuages, dwelling-houses, or appurtenances, before men- 
tioned, as of the donors of the said other chapels, with the messuages, dwelling- 
houses, or appurtenances, to the same belonging, given or conveyed to the like u«es 
and trusts, to explain the words Yearly Conference of the people called Methodists, 
contained in all the said trust-deeds, and to declare what persons are members of 
the said Conference, and how the succession and identity thereof is to be contin- 
ued: Noic therefore these presents witness, that, for accomplishing the aforesaid 
purposes, the said John Wesley dotli hereby declare, that the Conference of the 
people called Methodists in London, Bristol, or Leeds, ever since there hath 
been any yearly Conference of the said people called Methodists, in any of the 
said places, hath always heretofore consisted of the preachers and expouuders of 
God's holy word, commonly called Methodist preachers, in connection with, and 
under the care of, the said John Wesley, whom he hath thought expedient year 
after year to summons to meet him, in one or other of the said places, of Lon- 
don, Bristol, or Leeds, to advise with them for the promotion of the Gospel of 
Christ, to appoint the said persons so summoned, and the other preachers and 
expounders of God's holy word, also in connection with, and under the care of, 
the said John Wesley, not summoned to the said yearly Conference, to the use 
and enjoyment of the said chapels and premises so given and conveyed upon 
trust for the said John Wesley, and such other person and persons as he should 
appoint during his life as aforesaid ; and for the expulsion of unworthy and 
admission of new persons under his care, and into his Connection, to be preachers 
and expounders as aforesaid ; and also of other persons upon trial for the like 
purposes; the names of all which persons so summoned by the said John 
Wesley, the persons appointed, with the chapels and premises to which they 
■were so appointed, together with the duration of such appointments, and of those 
expelled or admitted into Connection or upon trial, with all other matters trans- 

318 Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

acted and done at the said yearly Conference, have, year by year, been printed and 
published under the title of " Minutes of Conference." And these presents fur- 
ther witness, and the said John Wesley doth hereby avouch and further declare, 
that the several persons hereiuafter named, to wit, the said John Wesley and 
Charles Wesley, Thomas Coke, of the city of London. Doctor of Civil Law; 
James Creighton, of the same place, Clerk; Thomas Tenant, of the same place; 
Thomas Rankin, of the same place; Joshua Keighley, of Seven Oaks, in the 
county of Kent; James Wood, of Rochester, in the said county of Kent; John 
Booth, of Colchester, Thomas Cooper, of the same place ; Richard Whatcoat, of 
Norwich ; Jeremiah Brettell, of Lynn, in the county of Norfolk, Jonathan Par- 
kin, of the same place; Joseph Pescod, of Bedford; Christopher Watkins, of 
Xoitharapton, John Barber, of the same place; John Broadbent, of Cxford, 
Joseph Cole, of the same place ; Jonathan Cousins, of the city of Gloucester, John 
Brettell, of the same place; John Mason, of Salisbury, George Story, of the 
same place ; Francis Wrigley, of St. Austell, in tlie county of Cornwall ; William 
Green, of the city of Bristol ; John Moon, of Plymouth-Dock, James Hall, of 
the same place ; James Thom, of St. Austell, aforesaid ; Joseph Taylor, of Red- 
ruth, in the said county of Cornwall; William Hoskins, of Cardiff, Glamorgan- 
shire ; John Leech, of Brecon, William Saunders, of the same place ; Richard 
Rodda, of Birmingham ; John Fenwick, of Burslem, Staffordshire, Thomas 
Hanby, of the same place ; James Rogers, of Macclesfield, Samuel Bardsley, of 
the same place; John Murlin, of jilanchester, William Percival, of the same 
place; Duncan Wriglit, of the city of Chester, John Goodwin, of the same place; 
Parson Greenwood, of Liverpool, Zechariah Yewdal, of the same place, Thomas 
Vasey, of the same place; Joseph Bradford, of Leicester, Jeremiah Robertshaw, 
of the same place; William ]\[yles, of Nottingham ; Thomas Longley, of Derby; 
Thomas Taylor, of Sheffield, William Simpson, of the same place; Thomas Car- 
lill, of Grimsby, in the county of Lincoln, Robert Scott, of the same place, Jo- 
seph Harper, of the same place; Thomas Corbett, of Gainsborough, in the said 
county of Lincoln, James Ray, of the same place ; William Thompson, of Leeds, 
in the county of York, Robert Roberts, of the same place, Samuel Bradburn, 
of the same place; John Yalton, of Birstal, in the said county, John Allen, of 
the same place, Isaac Brown, of the same place ; Thomas Hanson, of Hudders- 
field, in the said county, John Shaw, of the same place; Alexander Mather, of 
Bradford, in the said county; Joseph Benson, of Halifax, in the said county, 
William Dufton, of the same place ; Benjamin Rhodes, of Keigiily, in the said 
county; John Easton, of Colne, in the county of Lancaster, Robert Costerdine, 
of the same place; Jasper Robinson, of the Isle of Man, George Button, of the 
same place; John Pawson, of the city of York; Edward Jackson, of Hull; 
Ciiarles Atmore, of the said city of York ; Launcelot Harrison, of Scarborough ; 
George Shadford, of Hull aforesaid; Barnabas Thoma<, of the same place; 
Thomas Briscoe, of Yarm, in the said county of York, Christopher Peacock, of 

TiiE Deed of Declaeatiois". 319 

the same place; William Tiiom, of Whitby, in the said county of York, Robert 
Hopkins, of the' same place; John Peacock, of Barnard Castle; William Collins, 
of Sunderland ; Thomas Dixon, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Christopher Hopper, 
of the same place, William Boothby, of the same place; William Hunter, of 
Berwick-upon-Tweed; Joseph Saunderson, of Dundee,.Scotland, William War- 
rener, of the same place; Duncan M'AUum, of Aberdeen, Scotland; Thomas 
Rutherford, of the city of Dublin, in the kingdom of Ireland, Daniel Jackson, 
of the same place; Henry Moore, of the city of Cork, Ireland, Andrew Blair, of 
the same place ; Richard Watkinson, of Limerick, Ireland ; Nehemiah Price, of 
Athlone, Ireland; Robert Lindsay, of Sligo, Ireland ; George Brown, of Clones, 
Ireland ; Thomas Barber, of Charlemont, Ireland ; Henry Foster, of Belfast, Ire- 
land ; and Jolin Crook, of Lisburn, Ireland, gentlemen, being preachers and ex- 
pounders of God's lioly word, under the care and in connection with the said 
John Wesley, have been, and now are, and do, on the day of the date hereof, 
constitute the inenibers of the said Conference^ according to the true intent and 
meaning of the said several gifts and conveyances, wherein the words Confer- 
ence of the people called, Methodists are mentioned and contained. And that the 
said several persons before-named, and their successors forever, to be chosen as 
hereinafter mentioned, are and shall forever be construed, taken, and be the Con- 
ference of the people called Methodists. Nevertheless upon the terms, and sub- 
ject to the regulations hereinafter prescribed, that is to say, 

First, That tlie members of the said Conference, and their successors for the 
time being forever, shall assemiile once in every year, at London, Bristol, or 
Leeds, (except as after mentioned,) for the purposes aforesaid ; and the time and 
place of holding every subsequent Conference shall be appointed at the preced- 
ing one; save that the next Conference after the date hereof shall be hnklen at 
Leeds, in Yorkshire, the kst Tuesday in July next. 

Second, The act of the majority in number of the Conference assembled as 
aforesaid shall be had, taken, and be the act of the wiiole Conference; to all 
intents, purposes, and constructions whatsoever. 

Third, That after the Conference shall be assembled as aforesaid, they shall 
first proceed to fill up all the vacancies occasioned by death, or absence, as after- 

Fourth, No act of tlie Conference assembled as aforesaid shall be had, taken, 
or be the act of the Conference, until forty of the members thereof are assem- 
bled, unless reduced under that number by death since the prior Conference, or 
absence, as after-mentioned ; nor until all the vacancies occasioned by death, or 
absence, shall be filled up by the election of new members of the Conference, so 
as to make up the number of one hundred, unless there be not a sufficient num- 
ber of persons objects of such election: and during the assembly of the Confer- 
once, there shall always be forty members present at the doing of any act, save 
as aforesaid, or otherwise such act shall be Void. 

320 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

Fifth, The duration of the yearly assembly of the Conference shall not be 
less than five days, nor more than three weeks, and l^e concluded by the appoint- 
ment of the Conference, if under twenty-one days; or otherwise the conclusion 
thereof shall follow of course at the end of the said twentj'-one days; the whole 
of all which said time of the assem!)ly of the Conference shall be iiad, taken, 
considered, and be the yearly Conference of the people called Methodists, and 
all acts of the Conference during such yearly assembly thereof shall be the acts 
of the Conference, and none other. 

Sixth, Immediately after all the vacancies occasioned by death, or absence, are 
filled up by the election of new members as aforesaid, the Conference shall 
choose a president, and secretary, of their assembly, out of themselves, who shall 
continue such until the election of another president, or secretary, in the next or 
other subsequent Conference; and the said president shall have the privilege and 
power of two members in all acts of the Conference, during his presidency, and 
such other jjowers, privileges, and authorities, as the Conference shall from time 
to time see fit to intrust into his hands. 

Seventh, Any member of the Conference absenting himself from the yearly 
assembly thereof for two years successively, without the consent, or dispensa- 
tion of the Conference, and being not present on the first day of the third yearly 
assembly thereof at the time and place appointed for the holding of the same, 
shall cease to be a member of the Conference from and after the said first day 
of the said third yearly assembly thereof, to all intents and purposes, as though 
he was naturally dead. But the Conference shall and may dispense with, or 
consent to, the absence of any member from any of the said yearly assemblies, 
for any cause which tlie Conference may see fit or necessary; and such member, 
whose absence shall be so dispensed with, or consented to by the Conference, 
shall not by such absence cease to be a member thereof. 

Eighth, The Conference shall and may expel, and put out from being a mem- 
ber thereof, or from being in connection therewith, or from being upon trial, any 
person member of the Conference, or admitted into connection, or upon trial, for 
any cause which to the Conference may seem fit or necessary ; and every member 
of the Conference so expelled and put out shall cease to be a member thereof to 
all intents and purposes, as thougi\ lie was naturally dead. And the Conference, 
immediately after the expulsion of any member thereof as aforesaid, shall elect 
another person to be a member of the Conference, in the stead of such member 
so expelled. 

Ninth, The Conference shall and may atlmit into connection with them, or 
upon trial, any person or persons whom they shall approve, to be preacher* and 
expounders of God's holy word, under the care and direction of the Conference; 
the name of every such person or persons so admitted into connection or upon 
trial as aforesaid, with the time and degrees of the admission, being entered in 
the Journals or Minutes of ihe Conference. 

The Deed of Declaration. 321 

Tenth, No person shall be elected a member of the Conference, who hath not 
been admitted into connection with the Conference as a preacher and expounder 
of God's holy word, as aforesaid, for twelve months. 

Eleventh, The Conference shall not, nor may nominate or appoint any person 
to the use and enjoyment of, or to preach and expound God's holy word in, any 
of the chapels and premises so given or conveyed, or which may be given or con- 
veyed upon the trusts aforesaid, who is not either a member of the Conference, 
or admitted into connection witli the same, or upon trial, as aforesaid ; nor ap- 
point any person for more than three years successively to the use and enjoyment 
of any chapel and premises already given, or to be given or conveyed upon the 
trusts aforesaid, except ordained ministers of the Church of England. 

Twelfth, That tlie Conference shall and may appoint the place of holding the 
yearly assembly thereof at any other city, town, or place, than London, Bristol, 
or Leeds, wlien it shall seem expedient so to do. 

Thirteenth, And, for the convenience of the chajDels and premises already, or 
which may hereafter be given or conveyed upon the trusts aforesaid, situate in 
Ireland, or otlier parts out of the kingdom of Great Britain, the Conference shall 
and may, when, and as often as it shall seem expedient, but not otherwise, ap- 
point and delegate any member or niemljers of the Conference, with all or any 
of the powers, privileges, and advantages hereinbefore contained or vested in the 
Conference ; and all and every the acts, admissions, expulsions, and appoint- 
ments whatsoever of such member or members of the Conference so appointed 
and delegated as aforesaid, tlic same being put into writing, and signed by such 
delegate or delegates, and entered in the Journals or Minutes of the Conference, 
and subscribed, as after-mentioned, shall be deemed, taken, and be, the acts, ad- 
missions, expulsions, and appointments of the Conference, to all intents, con- 
structions, and purposes whatsoever, I'roni the respective times when the same 
shall be done by such delegate or delegates, notwithstanding any thing herein 
contained to the contrary. 

Fourteenth, All resolutions and orders touching elections, admissions, exjjul- 
sions, consents, dispensations, delegations, or appointments, and acts whatsoever 
of the Conference, shall be entered and written in the Journals or Minutes of 
the Conference, which shall be kept for that purpose, publicly read, and then 
subscribed by the president and secretary tiiereof for the time being, during the 
time such Conference shall be assembled ; and, when so entered and subscribed, 
shall be had, taken, received, and be the acts of the Conference; and such entry 
and subscription, as aforesaid, shall be had, taken, received, and be evidence of 
all and every such acts of the said Conference, and of their said delegates, 
without the aid of any other proof; and whatever shall not be so entered and 
subscribed, as aforesaid, shall not be had, taken, received, or be the act of the 
Conference: and the said jjresident and secretary are hereby required and obliged 
to enter and subscribe as aforesaid, every act whatever of the Conference, 

322 Illustrated History of ^Iethodism. 

Lastly, Whenever the said Conference shall be reduced under the number of 
forty members, and continue so reduced for three yearly assemblies thereof suc- 
cessively, or whenever the members thereof shall decline or neglect to meet to- 
gether annually for the purposes aforesaid, during the space of three years, that 
then, and in either of the said events, the Conference of the people called Meth- 
odists shall be extinguished, and all the aforesaid powers, privileges, and advan- 
tages shall cease ; and the said chapels and premises, and all other chapels and 
premises, which now are, or hereafter may be settled, given, or conveyed upon 
the trusts aforesaid, shall vest in the trustees for the time being of the said 
chapels and premises respectively, and their successors forever ; upon trust that 
they, and the sui-vivors of them, and the trustees for the time being, do, shall, 
and may, appoint such person and persons to preach and expound God's holy 
■word therein, and to have the use and enjoyment thereof for such time, and in 
sucii manner, as to them shall seem proper. 

Provided always, that nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed 
to extend, to extinguish, lessen, or abridge the life-estate of tiie said John 
Wesley, and Charles Wesley, or either of them, of and in any of the said cliap- 
els and premises, or any other chapels and premises wherein they the said John 
Wesley and Charles Wesley, or either of them, now have, or may have, any 
estate or interest, power or authority whatsoever. In witness whereof, the said 
John Wesley hath hereunto set his hand and seal, the twenty-eighth day of Feb- 
ruary, in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the 
Third, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, king, defender 
of the faith, and so forth, and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hun- 
dred and eiglity-four. 


Sealed and delivered (being first ) 
duly stamped; in the presence of f 

William Clttlow, Quality-court, Chaucery-laue, London. 

Richard Yockg, Clerk to the said William Clulow. 

The above is a true copy of tlie original deed, wliicli is enrolled in Chancer}-,. 

and was therewith examined by us. 

William Clulow, 

Richard Young. 

The selection of a hundred preachers out of a body of one hun- 
dred and ninety-two, for the pui'pose of a legal Conference, which was 
to be the ultimate authority among "the people called Methodists," 
was the most arbitrary act which this grand old autocrat ever per- 
formed. Herein he exercised his episcopal authority to the utmost, 
and never did, and probably never could, give any other reason for 
the selection than his own good will and pleasure. Some new men 

The Deed of DECLARATioisr. 323 

were admitted and some old preacliers were rejected, and in several 
instances of two men of equal rank and standing on the same cir- 
cuit, one was taken and tlie other left. 

" In nominating these preachers," says Mr. Wesley, in his history 
and defense of this notable document, " as I had no advisers, so I had no 
respect of persons ; but I simply set down those that, according to my 
best judgment, were the most proper. This was the rise and this the 
nature of that famous 'Deed of Declaration,' that vile, wicked 
deed, concerning which you have heard such an outcry. And now, 
can any one tell me how to mend it, or how it could have been made 
better ? ' O yes. You might have inserted two hundred as well 
as one hundred preachers.' I^o ; for then the expenses of meeting 
would have been double, and all the circuits would have been without 
preachers. ' But you might have named other preachers instead of 
these.' True, if I had thought as well of them as they did of them- 
selves. But I did not ; therefore I could not do otherwise than I did, 
without sinning against God and my own conscience. 

" You see, then, in all the pains I have taken about this absolutely 
necessary deed, I have been laboring, not for myself, (I have no inter- 
est therein,) but for the whole body of Methodists ; in order to fix 
them upon such a foundation as is likely to stand as long as the sun 
and moon endure. That is, if they continue to walk by faith, and to 
show forth their faith by their works ; otherwise, I pray God to root 
out the memorial of them from the eartli." 

After a storm of criticism, and some few threats of rebellion, the 
Conference ratified the "Deed of Declaration," and ''The Legal Hun- 
dred " became an order of nobility among the Methodist preachers ; 
an aristocracy in the true sense, that is to say, a government by the 
best. Since that day more liberal methods of management have been 
devised : ministers not members of this body, and laymen, also, having 
been admitted to a place in Methodist counsels. From first to last it 
has been notably difficult, if not impossible, for a man without pre- 
eminent ability and well-tried character and honor to become a mem- 
ber of this honorable body ; and, tested by its working and its results 
for nearly a hundred years, this constitution of British Methodism 
was every way worthy of the great mind which devised it. 

In a letter addressed to Joseph Bradford, who was his traveling 

324 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

companion during the last years of liis life, Mr. Wesley addresses 
these words to the Conference, which were to be read to them after 
his death : — 

" My Dear Bketheen : Some of our travehng preachers have 
expressed a fear, that, after my decease, you will exclude them, either 
from preaching in connection with you, or from some other privileges 
which they now enjoy. I know no other way to prevent any such 
inconvenience than to leave these my last words with you. 

" I beseech you, by the mercies of God, that you never avail your- 
selves of the Deed of Declaration to assume any superiority over your 
brethren ; but let all things go on among those itinerants who choose 
to remain together, exactly in the same manner as when I was with 
you, so far as circumstances will permit." 

He also charges them to " have no respect of persons in stationing 
the preachers," in choosing children for the Kingswood School, or in 
the distribution of Conference funds, but to do all things, as he him- 
seK had done, with a single eye to the glory of God and the good 
of all concerned. 

A Vigorous Old Age.— On the 26th of June, 1Y85, Mr. 
"Wesley, now an old man of eighty-two, wrote from Dublin to one of 
his friends, as follows : — 

" Many years ago I M-as saying : ' I cannot imagine how Mr. White- 
field can keep his soul ahve, as he is not now going through honor 
and dishonor, evil report and good report ; having nothing but honor 
and good report attending him wherever he goes.' It is now my own 
case ; I am just in the condition now that he was then in. I am 
become, I know not how, an honorable man. The scandal of the 
cross is ceased ; and all the kingdom, rich and poor, Papists and Prot- 
estants, behave with courtesy, nay, and seeming good will ! It seems 
as if I had well-nigh finisliod my course, and our Lord was giving 
me an honorable discharge.'' 

During this year Wesley lost by death two of the most intimate 
and valued friends of his whole life-time — Vincent Perronet and John 
Fletcher ; the latter at fiftj'-six years of age and the former at ninety- 
two. His brother Charles was now a feeble, broken-down old man ; but 
John Wesley, with a vigor which he believed to be supernatural, an 
immediate and special gift from God, was ranging through England, 

A Vigorous Old Age. 325 

Scotland, and Ireland with the spirit of a hardy young soldier or 
sailor, enduring hardships and discomforts with cheerfulness, absolutely 
unconscious of danger, and almost insensible to fatigue, preaching 
incessantly in chapels, court-houses, dance-halls, barns, factories, and 
not unfrequently in the open air. 

The following sketch of his personal appearance in his old age 
was given by John Jackson, Esq., R.A., an eminent London artist : — 

" The figure of Mr. "Wesley was remarkable. His stature was low, 
his habit of body in every period of hfe the reverse of corpulent, and 
expressive of strict temperance and continual exercise. Notwith- 
standing his small size, his step was firm, and his appearance, till within 
a few years of his death, vigorous and muscular. His face for an old 
man was one of the finest we have seen. A clear, smooth forehead, 
an aquiline nose, an eye the brightest and most piercing that can be 
conceived, and a freshness of complexion scarcely ever to be found at 
his years, and impressive of the most perfect health, conspired to render 
him a venerable and interesting figure. Few have seen him without 
being struck with his appearance, and many who have been greatly 
prejudiced against him have been known to change their opinion the 
moment they were introduced into his presence. In his countenance 
and demeanor there was a cheerfulness mingled Avith gravity ; a 
sprightliness which was the natural result of an unusual flow of spirits, 
and yet was accompanied with every mark of the most serene tran- 
quilhty. His aspect, j)articularly on profile, had a strong character of 
acuteness and penetration. In dress he was the pattern of neatness 
and simplicity. A narrow, plaited stock, a coat with a small, upright 
collar, no buckles at his knees, no silk or velvet in any part of his 
apparel, and a head as white as snow, gave an idea of something j^rim- 
itive and apostolic, while an air of neatness and cleanliness was diifused 
over his whole person." 

He was still as much of a student as ever, being now engaged 
upon a life of his beloved friend Fletcher, to which, he says, " I devote 
all the time I can spare from five in the morning till eight at night. 
These are my studying hours. I cannot write longer in a day without 
hurting my eyes." This was in September, 1786, and this student, who 
was writing fifteen hours a day on what proved to be his last literary 
work, was now eighty-three years old. 

326 Illlisteated History of Methodism. 

In December of the same year he writes : " Ever since that good 
fever which I had in the North Island, I have had, as it were, a new 
constitution ; aU my pains and aches have forsaken me and I am a 
stranger to weariness of any kind. This is tlie Lord's doing, and it 
may well be marvelous in our eyes." 

Death of Charles W^esley.— On the 29th of March, 1788, 
Chai-les Wesley departed this life, in the eightieth year of his age. He 
died at his residence in the city of London, which he had seldom left 
for many years, except occasionally to attend the Methodist Conferences 
at Leeds. 

As a writer of hymns, the most and the best that ever breathed 
forth from the soul of any one man, Charles Wesley will be held in 
immortal honor, though it is painfully evident that in the last years of 
his life his mind was so disturbed by the increasing liberties taken by 
the Methodists with the forms and orders of the Established Church, 
that, personally, he was not so much admired as endured. Bodily 
infirmities also pressed upon liim, and his Kfe-long prejudices kept 
him in a rehgious fret over the damage they were receiving at the 
hands of his more progressive brother, who now treated him with 
almost fatlierly tenderness, overlooking his peevishness, and healing 
the wounds which would otherwise have resulted therefrom. 

In his early life Charles Wesley was a hero ; he might have been a 
saint ; and on more than one occasion he had a narrow escajDe from be- 
ing a martyr. He could face a mob and hold his ground till liis clothes 
were torn to tatters and the blood ran down his face in streams ; and 
yet he was a man of gentle spirit, tender sensibihty, and, as he himseK 
declares, " wanting in what is ordinarily called courage." He was a 
zealot of the first order ; he was also a truly converted soul ; but his 
narrow Churchmanship cast a cloud over the latter portion of his Hfe, 
which even his genius and piety do not wholly dispel. 

T2ie Toiuh of Charles Wesley is in the church-yard of 
St. Mary-le-bone, in London, where he was buried at his own request 
by the priest of the parish in which he hved. He was well aware 
that his brother intended to be buried among his own people in the 
little cemetery by the City Eoad Chapel, but Charles would not lie 
beside him in death, because the place appointed was unconsecrated 

Death of Charles Wesley. 


As if the ground where John Wesley were buried needed any other 
consecration ! 

This piece of High-churchism on the part of his younger brother 
ga^e Mr. "Wesley some pain and trouble, and in answer to the gossip 
occasioned b}'' the matter he published his views on the consecration 
of churches and burial-grounds ; declaring it to be a practice which was 
^' neither enjoined by the law of the English State nor of the English 


Church, neither is it enjoined by the law of God ; a thing wrong in 
itself, flavored with Pajjal sujDcrstition, and absolutely ridiculous in 
the eyes of sensible Protestants." * 

Wesleyan Hyiiiiiolo§^y. — The list of poetical publications 
which bear the names of John and Charles Wesley is forty-nine in 
number : books and papers, large and small. " Hymns for the Watch 
"Methodist Magazine," 1788, p. 543. 

328 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

Niglit,'' is a little tract of twelve duodecimo pages ; another of the 
same size is entitled, " Hymns Occasioned by the Earthquake, March 
8, 1T50, to which is added a Hymn upon the Pouring out of the Seventh 
Yial, Rev. xvii, etc., occasioned by the destruction of Lisbon ; " while 
" A Collection of Moral and Sacred Poems, from the most celebrated 
English Authors," pubhshed in 1844, is a work in three volumes, con- 
taining over five thousand pages, very much of which is original mat- 
ter. There are on his list of poetical works : " Hymns for Times of 
Trouble and Persecution;" "Hymns for the Expected Invasion of 
1759 ;" "Hymns for the Family ;" " Hymns for Children ;" " Hymns 
for the Xativity of Our Lord ;" "A Hymn for the English in Amer- 
ica ;" extracts from Milton's " Paradise Lost," from Young's " Night 
Thoughts," and other English standard poems; besides the ten or 
twelve hymn-books proper ; chief of which is his " Collection of 
Hymns for the Use of the People called Methodists," 1T80, a volume 
of five hundred pages, which has only recently given place among the 
English Wesleyans to a larger and more catholic collection. 

Of the forty-nine publications above mentioned, only thirteen 
bear the name of Charles AVesley at all, and only five of these are 
credited to him alone ; one of the five being a short poem addressed 
by him to his brother John. 

Charles Wesley as a Poet. — Beyond all dispute Charles 
"Wesley was the prince of lyric poets. He was a j^oet by birth, by 
culture, by inspiration, and by providential opportunity. Samuel 
Wesley, as has been seen, was much given to writing poetry, or, as he 
himself expressed it, to " beating rhymes ; " his son Charles inherited 
this rhyming faculty to an eminent degree, and it is said that he pro- 
duced an immense anfount of work in rhyme and meter which was no 
better than those strained and stupid couplets into which his father 
" beat " the Holy Scriptures. He was continually producing hymns. 
If one of his cliildren fell sick he wrote a hymn about it, and another 
hymn when the child got well again. Every addition to his family 
stimulated his genius to the production of several hymns ; a hymn to 
the mother, another to the child, another to the remaining members of 
the family, and perhaps still another to mothers and children in 
general; "some of which," says Dr. "William Rice, to whom the 
Church is so largely indebted for its admirable new Hymnal, " have 

Chaeles Wesley as a Poet. 


been admitted to a place in our standard hymn book ; though no one 
not familiar with their history, would imagine the occasion which 
called them forth." 

In his Journal the poet records the fact that at one time he sprained 
his wrist, in consequence whereof he was not able to write any hymns 
that day — an entry which shows that his hymn-writing faculty was a 
perennial fountain from which flowed an almost constant stream. 
From this stream his superb sacred lyrics in the Methodist Hymnal 
are taken, sometimes from the middle of a long poem, the remainder 
of which is utterly devoid of merit ; for wliicli critical selection 
the world is indebted to his 
older brother, whose superior 
culture and more critical 
judgment enabled him to 
select the good from the com- 
mon, and sometimes helped 
him to improve upon the 

"From the mass of 
Charles Wesley's poetry," 
says the eminent authority 
just quoted, " two hundred 
hymns may be selected which 
cannot be equaled by a like 
selection from the writings 
of any other man ; " and Dr. 
Isaac Watts, the only man 
who disputes the crown with the poet of the ^lethodists, is credited 
with the statement, extravagant as it may seem, that Charles Wesley's 
hymn entitled " Wrestling Jacob " was worth all the poetry that he 
himself had ever written. 

The best hymns of Methodism, however, are more than Wesleyan ; 
they are divine. That glorious wave of sjDiritual power and inspi- 
ration, sweeping over the land, caught up this enthusiast, this poet- 
preacher, into the third heaven of song, and showed him things 
which it is quite lawful, but also quite impossible, for ordinary men to 
utter. His verse owed nothing to that heathen myth, the "Muse of 


330 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

poetry;" and every tiling to the Holy Spirit, by whom the great 
truths of the Christian faith were made gloriously real to his soul, and 
without which revelation he would have been only another rhyme- 
beater, whose pages could only be valued by the pound. Add to his 
birthright, and his heavenly inspiration, the unequaled opportunity of 
making the songs of a people whose language is full of music, and 
who were, and are, the heartiest singers that Christendom ever pro- 
duced, and we have the three points which determine the circle of 
Charles Wesley's poetic power and fame. 

There are evidences that John Wesley might have been the greater 
poet of the two, but he was so much else besides that this one among 
his many talents is often overlooked. What a glorious nature, then, 
must his have been, in which there was room enough for a poet larger 
than Charles Wesley, without in anywise crowding his other capaci- 
ties, or obscuring the view that history gives us of the rest of that 
glorious man ! 

Wesley and the Antislavery Society.— In the year 
1780 a young gentleman, only twenty-one years of age, of brilliant 
talents and master of a handsome fortune, made his appearance in the 
British House of Commons, whose name was destined to take first 
rank among the benefactors of mankind. 

From a boy the soul of William Wilberforce was moved with 
hatred and horror toward the traffic in human flesh, which in many of 
the English Colonies was a source of enormous wealth. The slave- 
trade was carried on in British ships, defended by British arguments, 
and sustained by British authority, both in Church and State. Even 
George Whitefield, as we have seen, was the owner of a considerable 
number of slaves, whom he kept to work his Orphan House plantation 
in Georgia : and so firmly was this iniquity intrenched, that none but 
an enthusiast, moved by that sort of enthusiasm which is an inspira- 
tion from God, would have ventured to attempt its extirpation. 

In 1787 the London Society for the Suppression of the Slave- 
Trade, was formed. Thirteen years before this, John Wesley had 
published his " Thoughts upon Slavery," at whi'ch time Wilberforce 
was a youth of fifteen. 

It is a pleasant sight to see this veteran of eighty-four and tliis 
young champion of twenty-eight uniting their forces for such a glorious 

Wesley and the Antislavery Society. 


struggle. Wesley was not able to give liis personal attention to the 
affairs of the new society, but from time to time wrote letters which 
were read at their meetings, giving sagacious counsel and pledging all 
possible assistance. He also printed a new edition of his " Thoughts 
upon Sla.very," and spread it broadcast throughout England and 
Ireland. Thus began the struggle which was kept up for forty-six 


years, and which, on the second of August, 1833, terminated in the 
Act of Emancipation, whereby Great Britain wiped out that blot upon 
her national character, at a cost to the national treasury of twenty 
million pounds sterling, and provided for the liberation of all the 
slaves within the limits of her realm. 

The following remarkable incident is related by Mr. Wesley. It 

332 Illustrated History of ]\lETHODis:Nr. 

occurred during his antislaverj sermon preached at Bristol on the sixth 
of March, 17S8. The topic of the discourse had been previously an- 
nounced, and the chapel was densely crowded both with rich and poor. 

" About the middle of the discourse," says "Wesley, " while there 
was on every side attention still as night, a vehement noise arose, none 
could tell why, and shot like hghtuing through the congregation. The 
terror and confusion were inexpressible. You might have imagined it 
was a city taken by storm. The people rushed upon each other with 
the utmost violence ; the benches were broken in pieces ; and nine 
tenths of the congregation appeared to be struck with the same panic. 
In about six minutes the storm ceased almost as suddenly as it rose ; 
and, all being calm, I went on without the least interruption. It was 
the strangest incident of the kind I ever remembered ; and I beheve 
none can accoimt for it, without supposing some preternatural influ- 
ence. Satan fought, lest his kingdom sliould be delivered up. "We 
set the next day apart as a day of fasting and prayer, that God woidd 
remember those poor outcasts of men," [the slaves,] " and make a way 
for them to escape, and break their chains asunder.'" 

To John "Wesley '' the prince of the power of the air " was a verit- 
able person, against whom he felt it his duty to contend. He beheved 
in the devil and hated him, just as truly as he believed in the Lord and 
loved him ; and it was no strain upon his faith to believe that himself 
and his work were hated and opposed by the one and loved and 
assisted by the other. 

AVesley died in the beginning of this great antislavery movement, 
but his name will stand in history with those of "Wilberforce and 
Clarkson, as one of the fii-st and chief promoters of that deliverance 
to the captives which is the greatest honor and glory ever achieved 
by the British nation. 

Wesley's liast Visit to Ireland. — On the first of March, 
1789, Mr. Wesley set out on his last journey to Ireland. 

The management of Methodism in that island had largely fallen into 
the hands of Dr. Thomas Coke, who had now become liis chief assistant, 
and who for many years in succession had presided at the sessions of 
the Irish Conference ; but Wesley was still held to be their father in 
the Gospel, and his visit on tliis occasion, while Dr. Coke was absent 
in America on his episcopal mission, was a season of great rejoicing. 

The Irish Conference. 333 

The Irish Conference was now composed of sixty preach- 
ers, of whom, at the session of 1Y89, there were between forty and 
fifty present. Wesley, who had a peculiar love for Ireland, sets down 
in his Journal this complimentary notice : — 

" Friday, July 3. Our little Conference began in Dublin and ended 
Tuesday, T. On this I observe, 1. I never had between forty and fifty 
such preachers together in Ireland before ; all of them, we had reason 
to hope, alive to God, and earnestly devoted to his service. 2. I never 
saw such a number of preachers before so unanimous in all points, par- 
ticularly as to leaving the Church, which none of them had the least 
thought of. It is no wonder that there has been this year so large an 
increase of the Society." 

And again he -writes : " I have found such a body of members as I 
hardly believed could have been found together in Ireland — men of so 
exact experience, so deep piety, and so strong understanding. I am 
convinced they are in no way inferior to the EugKsh Conference 
except it be in number." 

Ireland is a rainy country. Again and again the heavens poured 
down their showers upon the out-of-door congregations which gathered 
to hear the great Wesley; but they hstened almost as well with the 
water running down their backs as if they had been under the shelter 
of a cathedral dome. Sometimes the preacher managed to find a 
covered spot, but if none were convenient he too stood up under the 
outpouring, and preached " until he was wet to the skin, praying with 
a fervent heart, the while, that grace might descend upon his hearers 
in equally copious floods." 

From Dublin he made a preaching tour tlirough the Irish prov- 
inces, in which tour of about nine weeks he preached in more than sixty 
different towns and villages, sometimes in churches and chapels, some- 
times in the open air, and once in a place which he says was " large 
but not eleo-ant — a cow-house." He ffives no account of the number 

o o 

of members in the Irish Societies, but the minutes of the Bristol Con- 
ference of 1Y90 supply the following figures : — 

Number df Circuits in Ireland 29 

" Preachers 67 

" Members 14,106* 

* Smith's " History of Methodism," vol. i, p. 603. 

334 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

An interesting item of business at this last Irisli Conference was 
Wesley's appointment of " Adam Clarke and his ^vife to the charge 
of the Dublin Circuit," in which some serious difficulties had arisen. 
In a letter to the future king of commentators, who was then in the 
Isle of Jersey on account of feeble health, after referring to the 
troubles of the Dublin Society he says : — 

" But who is able to watch over them that they may not be moved 
from their steadfastness? I know none more proper than Adam 
Clarke and his vriie ; and indeed it may seem hard for them to come 
into a strange land again. Well, you may come to me at Leeds at the 
latter end of next month, and if you can show me any more proper 
I will send them in your stead." 

On the 12th of July, 1Y89, Wesley bade a final adieu to Ireland. 
Multitudes followed him to the ship, and before going on board he 
gave out a hymn which the people sang as well as they could with 
their hearts in their throats. After the singing the grand old patriarch 
dropped upon his knees on the wharf and commended them all to 
God. Then there were hand-shakings, and blessings, and loving fare- 
wells ; many weeping, and some falling on the old man's neck and kiss- 
ing him. Now he steps on deck ; the lines are cast off ; the vessel 
catches the breath of heaven with its white wings, and the last the 
warm-hearted Irish Methodists ever see of their beloved bishop he is 
standing upon the deck, his wliite locks shining, his face full of fatherly 
tenderness, and his hand outstretched toward them in a parting bene- 

Wesley's Last Cirenit. — Early in the year 1790 Mr. AYesley, 
in spite of the increasing infirmities of age, set out to make his great 
northern circuit. This tour was Wesley's annual visitation of the 
Societies in the northern part of England, and of the few that had 
maintained a foothold in Scotland. On this last occasion it occupied 
him five months. Think of a man eighty-seven years old, before the 
age of railways, travehng a five months' circuit through regions where 
the roads were often next to impassable, carrying with him " the care 
of all the Churches," preaching from ten to fifteen times a week, and 
riding in his carriage forty or fifty miles a day ! But the grand old 
hero fairly reveled in it. He gloried in being able to endure so much 
hardness as a soldier of Jesus Christ. 

Wesley's Last Circuit. 


He also kept up his field preaching : sometimes, even in wintry 
weather, and with the cold winds cutting his face and trying to shake 
his old bones, the voice of the venerable man would rise in all the 
clearness and fullness of his earher years, as, with the sky for a 
sounding-board and the round earth for a pulpit, he preached to 
the multitudes which crowded about him, to whom his presence was 
almost like that of a saint come back from glory, and whose words 

-^-^ ' ■is,:* '-> ^^S'i, 


were all the more precious because it was evident that the man was 
ripe for heaven, and they would doubtless see his face no more. 

In the church-yard of the httle town of Winchelsea stands an old 
ash-tree, which is known in the town and for many miles about by the 
name of ""Wesley's tree," from the circumstance that beneath its 
shade that venerable man on this great circuit preached the last ser- 
mon that he ever dehvered in the open air. 

336 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

It was no unusual thing for liim when on these episcopal tours of 
visitation to take his breakfast at three o'clock in the morning, and to 
enter his carriage at four. He would say to his coachman, " Have the 
carriage at the door at four o'clock ; I do not mean a quarter or five 
minutes past, but four,^^ and the coachman knew very well that it 
would not do to be a minute late. During this last pastoral 
visitation of his Societies "Wesley preached eighty sermons in eight 
weeks, besides frequently celebrating the Lord's Supper, at which 
he sometimes administered to from fifteen hundred to two thousand 

As a specimen of the cool courage and determination of Wesley in 
his old age the following account of his ride through the sea over the 
Cornwall sands between the towns of Hayle and St. Ives is given by 
his coachman on that occasion. 

" I first heard Mr. "Wesley preach in the street, near our market- 
house," says he, " when I was hostler at the London Inn. Mr. "Wes- 
ley came there one day in a carriage driven by his own serv- 
ant, who, being unacquainted with the roads further westward, he 
engaged me to drive him to St. Ives. We set out, and on our arrival 
at Hayle we f oimd the sands between that and St. Ives, over which we 
had to pass, ovei-fiowed by the rising tide. 

" On I'eaching the water's edge I hesitated to proceed, and advised 
him of the danger of crossing ; and a captain of a vessel, seeing us stop- 
ping, came up and endeavored to persuade us from an imdertakiiig so 
full of peril, but without effect, for Mr. Wesley had resolved to go on ; 
he said he had to preach at St. Ives at a certain hour, and that he must 
fulfill his appointment. Looking out of the carriage window he called 
out : — 

" ' Take the sea ! take the sea I ' 

" I dashed into the waves. The liorses were soon swimming, and 
the carriage nearly overwhelmed with the tide. I struggled hard to 
maintain my seat in the saddle, while the poor horses were snort- 
ing and rearing in the most fearful manner. I expected every moment 
to be swept into eternity, and the only hope I had was on account 
of driving so holy a man. At that awful moment I heard Mr. 
Wesley's voice. With difiiculty I turned my head toward the carriage, 
and saw his white locks dripping with water, which ran down his face. 

Visiting the Classes. 


He was looking calmly upon the waters, undisturbed by his })erilous 
situation. He hailed me in a loud voice and said : — 

" ' What is thy name, driver ? ' 

" I answered, ' Peter, sir.' 

" He said, ' Peter, fear not ; thou shalt not sink.' 

" That gave me new courage. I again urged on the flagging 
horses, and plunging and wallowing through the waves, at last we 
reached the opposite shore in safety." 

Visiting the Classes.— In his Journal of his last grand epis- 


co])al tour Wesley speaks of " the unpleasing work of visiting the 
classes," and mentions the fact that the Dublin Society had increased 
to about eleven hundred members, of whom, after due examination, he 
*' felt obhged to exclude about one hundred." 

As the chief authority among the "people called Methodists," 
Wesley held himself responsible for the correctness of the lives of the 
iiiembers of his Societies. All that was required of any one on being 

338 Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

admitted to this fraternitv was "a desire to flee from the wrath to 
come, and obedience to the ' general rules,' " hence it frequently be- 
came necessary to correct the rolls and to cut off therefrom the names 
of those who had fallen away from Methodism ; though that did not 
always imply faUing from grace, since many persons joined the Soci- 
eties who did not profess to have any grace, but sought to obtain it in 
this particular manner. 

"Wesley's method was to meet the classes, and by personal inquiry 
find out how the souls of his people prospered ; a work which of all 
others he most heartily disliked ; but he would not neglect it, especially 
because there were increasing signs of aversion to it on the part of 
some of his preachers. He must needs hold a personal examina- 
tion of the minds an(J consciences of twenty-five hundred sinners in aU 
stages of penitence and salvation ; some ignorant and needing instruc- 
tion, some stupid and unable to receive it, some stubborn and deter- 
mined not to have it, some full of foolish fancies to be despoiled, some 
full of doubts to be cleared away, some in soitow to be comforted, 
others in rebellion to be expelled ; with as many shades and variations 
of these general conditions as there were individuals in the Society — 
such was the task which the Bishop of the Methodists speaks of as 
" the unpleasing work of visiting the classes." 

Wesley's Last Conference.. — The forty-seventh Methodist 
Conference was opened at Bristol on the 27th of July, 1790. The 
unpleasing work of visiting and sifting the classes was not neglected, 
and after that process the Bristol Society numbered nine hundred and 
forty-four. The statistics of t]ie body of Methodists, both at home and 
abroad, which were reported at this Conference were something amaz- 
ing. Up to the year 1780 the movement had been a glorious success, 
but its progress during the last tea years of "Wesley's hfe was more 
than double the united results of the forty years preceding. 

Statistics— 1780 to 1790,— In the year 1780 there were 64 
circuits in the United Kingdom ; in 1790 there were 115. Then there 
were 171 itinerant preachers employed ; now there were 294. Then 
there were 43,880 members of the Society ; now there were 71,568. 
Then there were no missionary stations ; now 19 missionaries were ap- 
pointed to Antigua, Barbadoes, St. Vincent's, St. Christ oplicr's, Nevis, 
Tortola, Jamaica, Jsova Scotia, and Newfoundlimd, in which was an 

Plain Woeds to Rich Methodists. 


aggregate membership of 5,350 persons — 800 in ISTova Scotia and New- 
foundland, and 4,550 in the West Indies. In 1Y80 there were in 
America twenty circuits, 42 itinerant preachers, and 8,504 members of 
Society. In 1Y90 there were 114 circuits, 228 itinerant preachers, 
and 5Y,631 members of Society. 

These statistics, put in another form, wiU stand thus : — * 

Methodist Circuits 
throughout the world. 

Methodist Itinerant 

Methodist Members. 







in 10 years. 




Plain Words to Rich Methodists. — The members of 
the first United Societies, however much they may have been exercised 
with the cares of the world, were not many of them perplexed with 
the deceitfulness of riches ; but in his last days "Wesley observed, with 
indignation as well as alarm, that the gifts of the people for the cause of 
God did not increase at all in proportion to the increase of their 
wealth, and his exhortations to the rich Methodists during the last few 
months of his life are worthy of everlasting remembrance. He 
preached two notable sermons during this year ; one entitled, " Why 
has Christianity done so Little Good in the World ? " text, Jeremiah 
viii, 22 : the other, " The Rich Fool," from the words, " If riches in- 
crease, set not your heart upon them." Psalm Ixii, 10. The following 
selections will show the faithfulness of his dealing upon this 
subject : — 

" Let us descend to particulars ; and see that each of you deals 
faithfully with his own soul. Do you not eat more plentifully or more 
delicately than you did ten or twenty years ago ? Do not you use 
more drink, or drink of a more costly kind, than you did then ? Do 
you sleep on as hard a bed as you did once, suppose your health will 
bear it ? Do' joufast as often now you are rich, as you did when you 
were poor ? Ought you not in all reason to do this rather more often 
than more seldom ? I am afraid your own heart condemns you. You 
are not clear in this matter. 

* Tyerman's " Life of Wesley." 

340 Illustrated History of ]\rETHODis:sL 

''Do not pome of you seek no small part of happiness in that trifle 
of trifles, dress ? Do not voii bestow more money, or, which is the 
same, more time and pains upon it, than you did once ? I doubt this 
is not done to please God. Then it pleases the devil. If you laid 
aside your needless ornaments some years since, ruffles, necklaces, 
spider caps, ugly, unbecoming bonnets, costly linen, expensive laces, 
have you not, in defiance of religion and reason, taken to them again ? 

" Permit me to come a Kttle closer still ; perhaps I may not trouble 
you any more on this head. I am pained for you that are rich in this 
■loorld. Do you give all you can < You who receive £500 a year, 
and spend only £200, do you give £300 back to God ? If not, you 
certainly rob God of that £300. 

" ' Xay, may I not do what I will with my own f ' 

'•'Here Hes the ground of your mistake. It is not your own. It 
cannot be, unless you are Lord of heaven and earth. 

" ' However, I must provide for my children.' 

" Certainly. But how ? By making them rich ? TVTien you will 
probably make them heathens, as some of you have done ah*eady. 
Leave them enough to hve on, not in idleness and luxuiw, but by 
honest industry.'' 

On the dehcate question of marriage with unbehevers, he gives 
faithful warning thus : — 

"How great is the darkness of that execrable wTetch (I can give 
him no better title, be he lich or poor) who will sell his own child to 
the devil ; who will barter her own eternal happiness for any quan- 
tity of gold or silver ! "What a monster would any man be accounted 
who devoured the flesh of his own offspring I And is he not as great 
a monster, who, by his own act and deed, gives her to be devoured by 
that roaidng Hon, as he ocrtainly does (so far as is in his power) who 
marries her to an ungodly man. 

" ' But he is rich ; he has £10,000 '. " 

" What if it were £100,000 ? The more the worse ; the less proba- 
bihty wiU she have of escajjing the damnation of hell. "With what 
face wilt thou look uj)on her, when she tells thee in the realms 
below, ' Thou hast plunged me into this place of torment 1 Hadst 
thou given me to a good man, however poor, I might now have 
been in Abraham"- \> >- I'li ' ' 

Plaix AVords to Rich Methodists. 841 

" Are any of you that are called Methodists seeking to marry yonr 
children M^ell, (as the cant phrase is,) that is, to sell them to some pur- 
chaser that has much money but little or no religion ? Have you prof- 
ited no more by all ye have heard? Man, woman, think what you are 
about ! Dare you also sell your child to the devil ? You undoubtedly 
do this (as far as in you lies) when you marry a son or a claugliter to a 
child of the devil, though it be one that wallows -in gold or silver, (J 
take warning in time ! Beware of the gilded bait ! Death and hell 
are hid beneath. Prefer grace before gold and precious stones ; glory 
in heaven to riches on earth ! If you do not, you are worse than the 
very Canaanites. They only made their children j?«5<s through the fire 
to Moloch ; you make yours ^j><z5<s into the fire that never shall be 
quenched, and to stay tn itforeverT 

" Of the three rules which are laid down on this head in the ser- 
mon on ' The Mammon of Unrighteousness,' you may find many that 
observe the first rule, namely, Gain all yvu can. You may find a few 
that observe the second. Save all you can. But how many have you 
found that observe the third rule, Give all you can? Have you 
reason to believe that five hundred of these are to be found among 
fifty thousand Methodists f And yet nothing can be more plain than 
that all who observe the two first rules, without the third, will be 
twofold more the children of hell than ever they were before. 

" O that God would enable me once more, before I go hence and 
am no more seen, to lift up my voice like a trumpet to those who gain 
and save all they can, but do not give all they can ! Ye are the men, 
some of the chief men, who continually grieve the Holy S|)irit of God, 
and in a great measure stop his gracious influence from descending 
on our assemblies. Many of your brethren, beloved of God, have not 
food to eat ; they have not raiment to put on ; they have not a place 
where to lay their heads. And why are they thus distressed ? Because 
you impiously, unjustly, and cruelly detain from them what your Master 
and theirs lodges in your hands on purpose to supply their wants. In 
the name of God, what are you doing ? Do you neither fear God, nor 
regard man ? Why do you not deal your bread to the hungry, and 
cover the naked with a garment ? Have you not laid out in your own 
costly apparel what would have answered both these intentions ? This 
idle expense has no approbation, either from God or your own con- 

342 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

science. But you say, ' You can afford it ! ' Can any steward afford 
to be an ai-rant knave ? to waste his lord's goods ? Can any servant 
afford to lay out his master's money any other^vise than his master 
appoints him ? So far from it, that whoever does this ought to be ex- 
cluded from a Christian society. 

" The Methodists grow more and more self-indulgent because they 
grow rich. Although many of them are still deplorably poor, {Tell it 
not in Gath : j!?wJZ?*sA it not in the streets of Askelon !) yet many 
others, in the space of twenty, thirty, or forty years, are twenty, thirty, 
yea, a hundred times richer than they were when they first entered 
the Society. And it is an observation which admits of few exceptions, 
that nine in ten of these decreased in grace in the same proportion as 
they increased in wealth. Indeed, according to the natural tendency 
of riches, we cannot expect it to be otherwise." 

The right to exercise this boldness Avas earned by a life of self- 
sacrifice. Wesley was faithful both in little and in much. He could 
challenge his people to imitate himself, with the mournful assurance 
that the majority of them would never do it. Dr. "Whitehead, one of 
his biographers, says, that in the course of fifty years it was supposed 
that Wesley gave away between twenty and thirty thousand pounds ; 
a statement confirmed by Mr. Moore, another biographer, who says : 
"Mr. Wesley's accounts he before me. His expenses were kept with 
great exactness ; every penny is recorded, and I presume that the 
thirty thousand pounds might be increased several thousand more." 
Wesley's last entry in his account book is as follows : — 

"N. B. For upward of sixty years I have kept my accounts exactly, 
and I will not attempt it any longer, being satisfied with the convic- 
tion that I have saved all I can, and given all I can, that is, all I have. 
''July 16, 1790. John Wesley." 

How many other hfe-time accounts would furnish such a trial 
balance ? 

During some portions of his life his income from his pubhshing 
house was from five hundred to a thousand pounds a year, besides 
which, large sums of money were placed in his hands for charitable 
distribution. But none of this did Mr. Wesley consider as his own ; 
lie was merely the Lord's steward in this matter, and he received his 

Death of Johis- Wesley. 343 

yearly allowance of thirty pounds from the hands of the treasurer of 
his publishing house as if he had been any other itinerant preacher or 
a teacher in the Kingswood or Newcastle schools, and he declared that, 
in spite of his great income, he never in all his life had at one time 
one hundred pounds that he could call his own. 

" Poor, yet making many rich ; having nothing, and yet possessing 
all things ! " 

Death of John Wesley. — About ten o'clock on the morning 
of Wednesday, March 2, 1Y91, after a brief season of prostration, but 
without any disease or pain, in the full use of his senses, and in the 
glorious triumph of the faith he had preached so long and so weU, 
John Wesley passed from the world of the dying to the world of the 

It was his earnest prayer that he might cease at once to " work and 
live," and there were, indeed, only nine da^^'s from the date of his 
last sermon at the house of a friend near London to the time when he 
departed for the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 
On the day after this last discourse (February 24) he wrote his last 
letter, which, it is interesting to note, was to his young friend 
Wilberforce, cheering him on in his struggle against slavery. 

The next day he returned to his residence in City Road, London, 
and on reaching home he went immediately to his room, and desired 
to be left alone for a short time. At the end of the time appointed 
he was found to be ill, and his physician. Dr. Whitehead, was sum- 
moned at once. 

" They are more afraid than hurt," said he to the doctor, on his 

But presently he fell into a drowsy condition, in which he j)assed 
the next thirty-six hom's. On Sunday morning, February 27th, he 
seemed to be rallying again, got up and sat in his chair, looking cheer- 
ful, repeated portions of hymns, and joined in conversation ; but 
soon he began to wander in his mind, and imagined himseK to be 
meeting the classes or preaching. His friends now became alarmed, 
and, being utterly without hope except from on high, notes were 
hastily dispatched to the preachers by his faithful friend and traveling 
companion, Joseph Bradford, in these words : — 

" Mr. Wesley is very ill. Pray ! Pray ! Pray ! " 

344 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

On Tuestlay. March 1. after a restless night, being asked if he 
suffered pain, he answered *• Xo." and then began singing : — 

" All glory to God in the sky. 

And peace upon earth be restored! 
O Jesus, exalted on high, 

Appear our omnipotent Lord. 
Who, meanly in Bethlehem born, 

Didst stoop to redeem a lost race, 
Once more to thy people return, , 

And reign in thy kingdom of grace." 

After some time he said, *' I will get up,*' and, while his friends 
were arranging his clothes, he began again to sing : — 

'• I'll praise my Maker while Tve breath, 
And when my voice is lost in death, 

Praise shall employ my nobler powers ; 
My days of praise shall ne'er be past, 
While life, and thought, and being last, 

Or immortality endures." 

Being exceedingly weak, he was presently cai'ried back to his bed, 
and after arranging some trifling matters, and giving a few brief direc- 
tions about his burial, which he desired to be conducted in the sim- 
plest manner, he called out " Pray and praise ;" and while his friends 
fell upon their knees he fervently responded to the prayers they 
offered, especially to that of his friend John Broadbent, who desired 
that God would still bless the system of doctrine and discipline which 
Wesley had been the means of establishing. 

On rising from prayer his friends drew neai* to his bed, and with 
the utmost calmness he saluted each one present, shook hands, and 
said, " Farewell, farewell ! " Some time after this he tried again to 
speak, but his words were too feeble to be understood. Observing the 
anxiety on the faces of his friends at being unable to understand him, 
the dying man summoned all his remaining strength, and exclaimed, 
in a clear, strong voice, " The best of all is, God is with us.'' Then, 
after a short space, lifting his hand, he emphatically repeated, '' The 
hest of all is, God is with us." 

A httle before ten o'clock on the morning of March 2 the supreme 


346 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

moment arrived. Several of his relatives and members of his house- 
hold knelt around his bed in prayer, and on rising from their knees, 
and seeing that Wesley was about to depart, Bradford solemnly 
repeated these words : — 

" Lift up your heads, O ye gates ; and be ye hfted up, ye everlast- 
ing doors, and this heir of glory, shall come in ;" and while he was yet 
speaking, without a sign or a groan, this great man, full of years and 
honors, passed away, doubtless to hear the words from the lips of his 
Lord, which, according to human judgment, might be better spoken 
to him than to almost any other man : " Well done, good and faithful 
servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 

The funeral was celebrated at City Road Chapel, on the 9th of 
March, at five o'clock in the morning. There were two good reasons 
for the choice of this unusual hour : first, it was Wesley's favorite 
time for preaching; and second, at a later liour of the day the attend- 
ant crowds would have been overwhelming and dangerous. 

The beautiful burial service of the Church of England was read 
by the Hev. Mr. Richardson, who had served him as a faithful son in 
the ministry for thirty years, and who now lies close by his side. 

When the minister came to that part of the service " Forasmuch 
as it hath pleased Almighty God to take unto himself the soul of our 
dear brother," instead of " brother " he used " father," with an 
emphasis so suggestive, and a voice so full of love and tenderness, that 
the whole assembly broke out in uncontrollable sobs and tears. 

A simple monument marks his grave in City Road Cemetery, in 
which it was his desire that his dust might repose among the graves of 
his people. This burial-groimd has now been closed. For a long time 
it was held as a sacred and honorable spot, in which only the chief 
men of " the people called Methodists " could hope to find a resting 
place by the side of their great leader, and after the burial there of 
that honored father in Israel, the Rev. Jabez Bunting, the number of 
this elect was declared complete, and the place was once for all given 
over to memory and to history. 

Wesley's Will. — A short time before his death Mr. Wesley 
executed a deed in wliich he gave his pubhc interests over into the 
hands of trustees, chief of whom was Dr. Thomas Coke, to be by them 
managed for the benefit of the Methodist Connection. 

Wesley's Will. 


His manuscripts he gave to Dr. Thomas Coke, Dr. Wliitehead, 
and Henry Moore, " to be burned or published as they see good." He 
also directed the sum of six pounds to be given to six poor men who 
might carry his body to the grave, particularly desiring that there 
should be no pomp or show on this occasion, and solemnly adjuring his 
executors in the name of God to see this desire carried out ; and, finally, 
he directed that six months after his death eight volumes of sermons^ 
from his publishing house should be given to each of his travel ii ^ 
preachers who should then be members of the Methodist Connection. 





]fIoiiiiineiit to John and Charles Wesley in H^est- 
ininster Abbey. — " One hundred and thirty years ago Wesley ^ras 
shut out of every Church in England ; now marble medallion profiles 
of himself and his brother, accompanied with suitable inscriptions, are 
deemed deserving of a niche in England's grandest cathedral. The 
man who a century since was the best abused man in the British isles, 
is now hardly ever mentioned but with affectionate respect." - 

It is but just and consistent that some memorial of that royal man 
should be set up among the tombs of England's princes, bishops, 
heroes, and statesmen. Other men have been kings by the accident of 
birth of royal blood : John Wesley reigned by virtue of the divine 
anointing. Other bishops have worn the miter and carried the keys 
through the devious workings of State-church preferment : John 
Wesley was a bishop by the grace of God. Other heroes have earned 
their honors by ravaging sea and land to kill, burn, and destroy : Wes- 
ley, with equal courage and equal skill, achieved his fame not by killing 
but by saving men. 

Statesmanship, too, is honored in this memorial in Westminster, • 
Macaulay, in his estimate of John Wesley, says, " His genius for 
government was not inferior to that of Richelieu ; " and Southey, in 
a letter to Wilberforce, writes, " I consider Wesley as the most influen- 
tial mind of the last century — the man who will have produced the 
greatest effects centuries, or perhaps millenniums, hence, if the present 
race of men should continue so long." 

And if poets are honored in this splendid mausoleum, who more 
deserves a place therein than Charles Wesley ? His songs have helped 
more souls to happiness and holiness and heaven than those of any 
other bard since the days of the Psalmist of Israel ; like those sacred 
chants wliich echo through the ages, the hymns of Wesley with 

" Tvf.kman's " Life and Times of John Weslev." 


Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

each succeeding generation are borne on a higher, grander, sweeter tide 
of harmony; giving still the best expression to the prayers or joys 
of human souls ih every time of trial or triumph, from the sorrow of 
the broken-hearted penitent at the " mourner's bench " to the notes of 
victory with which the dying saint catches his first glimpse of the 
glory that awaits the people of the Lord. 

Deau Stanley on John ^Vesley.— On the evening of 

November 1, 1878, 
the Methodists of the 
city of JSTew York 
gave a reception to 
Dean Stanley, then 
on his first visit to 
this country ; which 
was understood to be 
a pubhc and ofiicial 
recognition, by the 
Methodists of Amer- 
ica, of the Christian 
and Catholic courtesy 
of the distinguished 
guest of the occasion, 
who, as custodian of 

EEV. ABTHLK PKNRHYN STA^^EY, D.D, LL.D. Wcstmiustcr Abbey, 

tad given permission to erect therein a monument to the two Wesleys. 
On that memorable occasion, in responding to the address of welcome. 
Dean Stanley gave this account of the inception of the plan, which was 
first proposed to him by the Eev. Drs. Jobson and Rigg, of the British 
Wesleyan Conference : — 

" It was some eight or ten years ago that the then President of the 
"Wesleyan Conference * asked, with that courtesy and modesty which 
is characteristic of him, that I would allow ' the erection of a monu- 
ment in Westminster Abbey, in Poet's Corner, to Charles "Wesley, as 
the sweet psalmist of our English Israel.' 

'' I ventured to answer, ' If we are to have a monument to Charles 
why not to John ? ' To John Wesley, accordingly, together with his 

* Rev. Frederick Jobson, D.D. 

I:sr Memoriam. 351 

brother Charles — not as exchiding Charles, but as the greater genius, 
as the greater spirit of the two — that monument has been erected. 
John "Wesley's monument, with the likeness also of his brother Charles, 
has been erected in "Westminster Abbey, close to a monument which 
was erected in the last century — and I mention it only as showing that 
in welcoming this recognition of your illustrious founder I have been 
but following the precedents ah-eady estabhshed in "Westminster 
Abbey and in the Church of England — the monument to John "Wesley 
was erected side by side with the monument which in the last century 
was erected to the memory of the great Congregational divine and 
poet, Isaac Watts. It has been said in the address, and I think it has 
been said also by the other speakers, that we are assembled here in a 
building consecrated to the Methodist worship — consecrated to the 
worship of Almighty God, as set on foot in this country by John 
"Wesley. It reminds me of what happened to myself when, on visiting 
in London the City Road Chapel, in which John "Wesley ministered, 
and in the cemetery adjoining, in which he is buried, I asked an old 
man who showed me the cemetery — I asked liim perhaps inadvertently, 
and as an Enghsh Churchman might naturally ask — 

" ' By whom was this cemetery consecrated ? ' 

" And he answered, ' It was consecrated by the bones of that holy 
man, that holy servant of God, John Wesley.' 

" In the spirit of that remark I return to the point to which I have 
ventured to address my remarks, and that is, The claims wliich the 
character and career of John "Wesley have, not only upon your venera- 
tion, but upon the veneration of Enghsh Christendom. 

" And, first of all, may I venture to say that in claiming him as your 
founder you enjoy a peculiar privilege among the various communions 
wliich have from time to time broken off, or at least varied, from the 
communion of the Church of England. The founder of the English 
{Baptists is comparatively unknown ; the founder of the English Con- 
gregationahsts (and I say it with no shadow of disrespect) is also com- 
paratively unknown ; the founder of Enghsh Unitarianism (and I say 
it also without a shadow of disrespect) is also comparatively obscure ; 
the founder of the Society of Eriends, George Fox, has been super- 
seded in celebrity by WiUiam Penn, and by other illustrious Eriends 
whc> ha^'c risen in that Society since liis departure ; but it is no disre- 

352 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

gpect to the great Society of Methodists, it is no disrespect to the emi- 
nent and revered persons who sit around me, to say, that no one has 
risen in the Methodist Society equal to their founder, John Wesley. 
It is this which makes his character and which makes his fortunes so 
profoundly interesting to the whole Christian world. 

" Again, there is this very interesting pecuharity of John Wesley — 
interesting not only to Wesleyans, but to the members of every com- 
munion thi'oughout the world — he showed how it was possible to 
make a very wide divergence from the Communion to which he 
belonged without parting from it. ' I will vary,' he used to say, ' from 
the Church of England, but I will never leave it.' And this assurance 
of his determination to continue in the Church of England, in spite of 
all difficulties and all obstacles, he persevered in to the end. I will 
not now — it would be most unfitting and unbecoming in me — cast any 
censure on the course which this great Society, especially in America, 
has taken since his death. Circumstances change. Opportunities are 
altered. Things which might have been possible in his life-time may 
have become impossible since ; but, nevertheless, the relations which 
he himself maintained toward the Church of England are encourage- 
ments to every one, in whatever Communion, to endeavor to make the 
best of that Communion so long as they can possibly remain within it. 

"And of these relations, which he encouraged his followers to 
maintain, of friendliness and communion with the Church of England, 
I need not repeat his oft-reiterated phrase. These expressions, these 
entreaties which he urged upon his followers not to part from the 
mother Church, are not the less interesting nor the less applicable 
because, as I have said, cii'cumstances both in England and in America 
have in some degree parted us asunder. There are those in our own 
country — there are possibly those in America — who think that the 
Wesleyans, the Methodists, may possibly be one of the links of union 
between the mother Chiu"ch of England and those who are more or 
less estranged from it. On this I pronounce no opinion. I know that 
separations once made are very difficult to be reconciled. Like the 
two friends described by the English poet : — 

" 'They stand aloof, tlie scars remaining, 
Like cliffs tlmt have been rent asiinfler.' 

In Memoriam. 353 

" But still we may always trust that something of the old feeling 
will remain. One cannot help feeling that this very occasion shows 
that there is something in the hearts of Methodists which responds to 
the feeling which the mother Church still entertains toward them. 

" I always feel that some injustice has been done, in common par- 
lance, both in our Church and in the outlying Comnmnions ; that some 
injustice has been done to the bishops and the authorities of our 
Church at the time of John "Wesley's career. It was not, as has been 
often said, from the action of the English bishops that John Wesley 
or his followers were thrown into a state of estrangement. Nothing: 
could have been more friendly, more kindly, and more generous, on 
the whole, than the conduct of such prelates as Archbishop Potter, as 
Bishop Lowth, as Bishop Benson ; and nothing could have been more 
friendly than the conduct of our King, George II., or of the judges of 
England, toward John Wesley and his followers. 

" The cause of their estrangement, the cause of the difficulties they 
encountered, arose very much more from that stupid, vulgar, illiterate 
prejudice which exists among the professional fanaticism and exclu- 
siveness — that barbarous ignorance — which is found in the mobs of all 
countries. The feeling which drove the followers of John Wesley 
from their place in the Church of England was the same which, a few 
years later, drove the philosopher Priestley from his habitation in Bir- 
mingham to take refuge in Pennsylvania ; and, therefore, I repeat, the 
feeling between the Church of England and the Methodists need never 
be broken. You may remain apart from us, and we may remain apart 
from you ; but we shall always feel that there is an under-current of 
sympathy on which we can always rely, and possibly, in times far dis- 
tant, may perhaps once more bring us together." 

Bishop Simpson, in liis admirable response to the address of Dean 
Stanley, reasserted the claim of the Methodist Episcopal Church as 
the true, historic form of Wesleyanism. In the course of his remarks 
the Bishop said : — 

" And now we congratulate you on your visit to this land, and we 
trust that this visit will be productive not only of happiness to your- 
self, but, on your return, of increasing the friendship and union 
between the Churches of England and America. As Methodists, as 
has been already said, we have taken special interest in this welcome 


Illustkated History of Methodism. 

because of jour connection with the honor paid to the memory of 
John and Charles AVesley. From your hps we have heard how their 
monument was designed and erected, and we have Hstened to your es- 
timate of the character of our illustrious founder. The great outlines 
of this movement, which we in part represent here this evening, were 
marked out by him. 'Near the close of his long hfe he advised the 
formation of a Church according to the order which we now have ; 
and there is no other oro^anization or communion on earth which 











•so clearly and distinctly represents the mind of John AYesley as the 
•organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He planned its 
order, and we simply followed his advice." 

riivin^stone and Wesley. — " I was wandering through "West- 
minster Abbey one day," continued the Bishop, " and I came to the 
•slab that bears the name of Livingstone, with tliis inscription, ' And 

JoHN^ Wesley as a Preacher. * 355 

other sheep I have which are not of this fold : them also I must bring.' 
I admired the beauty of the selection, and I said, ' That may refer not 
only to the wandering sheep in Africa, but it may also refer to the fact 
that Livingstone did not belong to the national Church, and yet he 
was an honored Christian as well as an honored exjilorei-.' Then I said 
to myself, ' Is it not a law of the human fi-ame, that the more freelv 
the blood passes out to the extremity the firmer, the stronger, and the 
more warmly does the heart beat ? ' And then I asked myself, ' Was 
it not through Africa, that Livingstone reached "Westminster Abbey ? 
was it not because the blood of the Christian heart had ilown to tlie 
extremity, and come back to make England's heart to grow warmer \ ' 
Then I said again, ' Was it not because Jolm Wesley said, " The world 
is my parish ? " that made it possible for you to open the doors of 
that grand old abbey and admit Jolm Wesley's monument there ! ' His 
dust rests with you in England, his spirit walks our land ! " 

Well did Dean Stanley say, " No one has risen in the Methodist 
Society equal to their founder, John Wesley." With equal truth he 
might have said, No one has risen in the Church of England, either 
before or since his day, equal to John Wesley, the restorer of ajDostolic 
order, the defender of apostolic doctrine, and the pattern of apostolic 

John Tl^esley as a Preacher. — On a certain occasion when 
Wesley was to jDreach to a wealthy and elegant congregation, he chose 
for his text, " Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape 
the damnation of hell ? " 

After the sermon one of his offended hearers said to him : — 

" Sir, such a sermon would have been suitable in Bilhngsgate, but 
it was highly improper here." 

"If I had been in Billingsgate," answered Wesley, "my text 
would have been, ' Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the 
sin of the world.' " 

Perhaps there is no single incident in the life of tliis preacher of 
righteousness which more fully opens up the secret of his wonderful 
power. In the first place, his eye was keen enough to pierce through 
all the outward show of wealth, fashion, rank, and pride, and take a 
searching look into the souls of his congregation, who were none the 
less a company of miserable sinners than an equal number of ignorant. 

85 G * Illustrated History of Methodism. 

vicious fish women, costennongers and old-clothes venders down in 
the courts of Dmry Lane. lie was absolutely insensible to those 
restraints and embarrassments whieli are wont to oppress the heart 
and control the manners of those ministers of the Gospel who never 
can forget themselves, whatever they are saying or doing : he was an 
embassador of Christ, and cared only to please his Master by faithfully 
delivering his message. 

lie was no respecter of persons. When it came to the question, 
" What must I do to be saved ? " he told his hearers the tnith, and left 
the result witli God. Wliat tlie congregation might think of the 
preacher was something which did not trouble him. He was setting 
forth eternal truths with a view to produce eternal results ; and he 
surmounted or bnished away the obstacles and trifles which came in 
liis way with a sublime indifference wliieh made him the master of all 
situations. As a preacher this one single sentence will describe liim, 
namely — He was (xod's minister, and as such God honored him. 

" The reason why God does not give you power," said Mr. Moody, 
at one of his great conventions of Christian workers, " is, that he can- 
not trust you witli it." 

Wesley was a man who could be trusted with power. He who 
with an income of a thousand pounds a year could limit himself to 
fehirty pounds and give the rest to the poor, and to help on the work 
of God, could safely be tnisted with money ; he who with the most 
varied scholarship of any clergyman of his time could habitually choose 
the simplest and plainest forms of speech, and never, even in the 
presence of dukes or doctors, make use of the Gospel to exhibit his 
learning — such a man could be trusted with the gift of tongues ; he 
who held his strength as of no other use than to be spent in tlie Lord's 
ser^'ice, could be trusted M'ith length of days ,- and he who asked no 
earthly honor for himself was just the man whom Jesus Christ could 
make a bishop of his Church, and endow with a double portion of 
kuthority and grace. 

From this it nmst not be inferred that Wesley was rude in speech 
OT indiiferent to the graces of refined society. " Be courteous," says 
the Scripture, and this precept he obeyed both from the instincts of a 
gentleman and the piety of a Christian. His pulpit manners were 
graceful and easy, his voice clear and full of calm authority. His style 

Wesley as a Sciiolak. 357 

95^as often argumentative, but it was tlie style of expostulation rathei- 
than of debate. He did not stoop to the tricks of declamation or the 
arts of mere rhetoric ; he did nothing " for effect," in the surface sense 
of that word, and for that very reason he was the most effective 
preacher in Great Britain, Pie was scholarly without being pedantic ; 
careful and exact in his statements ; and, though wanting the fire 
and fancy of Whiteiield, he was vastly his superior as a preacher 
when judged by the depth and permanence of the impressions he 

It has been said that Wesley " had a genius for godliness." If by 
that general phrase is meant a divine endowment for seeing and doing 
every thing in the light of its relations to God and eternity, nothing 
can more aptly describe the man. This is the key to all his wonderful 
successes : it was his "godliness" that made him at all points the supe- 
rior of all other men of his time. 

"Wesley as a Seliolar. — It was his constant care not only that 
his people should be more pious but '' more knowing." With this end 
in view, and without a thought of making money by making books, he 
wrote and published a series of volumes and tracts covering the whole 
field of useful learning. 

The chief department of knowledge he understood to be the knowl- 
edge of God, though in this view of the case he was somewhat singu- 
lar among the clergy of his day. At Oxford he was a master in 
Greek, and so familiar was he with the Greek Testament that when 
his memory failed to recall the exact form of a text in English he 
could readily quote it in the Greek original. 

In 1741 he published an abridgment of a work entitled " Reflec- 
tions upon the Conduct of Human Life, with reference to Learning 
Knowledge," written by Dr. John JSTorris, who was an old friend of his 
father, and whose opinion Wesley thus indorsed and presented to his 
people. The following extract gives the flavor of the book : — • 

" I cannot with any patience reflect that, out of so short a time as 
human life, consisting, it may be, of fifty or sixty years, nineteen or 
twenty shall be spent in hammering out a little Latin and Greek, and in 
learning a company of poetical fictions and fantastic stories. If one 
were to judge of the life of man by the proportion of it spent at school, 
one would think the antediluvian mark were not yet out. Besides, the 

358 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

things taught in seminaries are often frivolous. IIow many excellent 
and useful things might be learned while bovs are thumbing and mur- 
<lering Hesiod and Homer ? Of what signification is such stuff as tliis 
ro the accomplishment of a reasonable soul ? What improvement can 
it be to my undei'standing to know the amours of Pyraraus and 
Thuhe, or of Hero and Leander ? Let any man but consider human 
nature, and tell me whether he thinks a boy is fit to be trusted with 
Ovid ? And yet to books such as these our youth is dedicated, and in 
these some of us employ our riper years ; and when we die this 
makes one part of our funeral eulogy ; though, according to the prin- 
ciples before laid down, we should have been as pertinently and more 
.innocently employed all the while if we had been picking straws in 

" The measure of prosecuting learning is its usefulness to good life ; 
and, consequently, all prosecution of it beyond or beside this end is 
impertinent and immoderate. For my own part, I am so thoroughly 
convinced of the certainty of the principles here propounded, that I 
look upon myself as under almost a necessity of conducting my studies 
by them, and intend to study nothing at all but what serves to the 
advancement of piety and good hfe. I have spent about thirteen 
years in the most celebrated university in the world, in pursuing both 
such learning as the academical standard requires and as my private 
genius inclined me to ; but I intend to spend my uncertain remainder 
of time in studying only what makes for the moral improvement of 
my mind and the regulation of my life." 

The above reiterates "Wesley's oft-repeated views, not against class- 
ical education, but against that ridiculous definition of "The Classics" 
whereby they are practically limited, as far as the teachings of the 
higher schools is concerned, to the works of a class of authors which 
in point of antiquity are modern when compared with the Hebrew 
classics, and in point of moral and heroic quahty are inexpressibly 
inferior to the Christian myths and fables which they have displaced. 

The above extract furnishes, says Mr. Tyerman, " a key to the 
whole of Wesley's literary pursuits from this, the commencement of 
his Methodist career, to the end of his protracted life." 

" It has been loudly affirmed," says Wesley, " that most of those 
persons now in connection with rae^ who believe it their duty to call 

Wesley as a Sciiolae. 359 

sinners to repentance, having been taken immediately from low trades, 
tailors, shoemakers, and the like, are a set of poor stupid, illiterate men, 
that scarce know their right hand from their left ; yet I cannot but 
say that I would sooner cut off my right hand than suffer one of them 
to speak a word in any of our chapels if I had not reasonable proof 
that he had more knowledge in the holy Scriptures, more knowledge 
of himself, more knowledge of God and of the things of God, than nine 
in ten of the clergymen I have conversed with, either at all the uni- 
versities, or elsewhere." 

More than forty years afterward, in a letter to Bishop Lowth, 
Wesley says : — ■ 

" Some time since I recommended to your lordshij) ' a plain man, 
whom I had known above twenty years as a person of deep, genuine 
piety, and of unblamable conversation.' But he neither understood 
Greek nor Latin ; and he affirmed, in so many words, that he ' believed 
it was his duty to preach, whether he was ordained or no.' .... I 
do not know that Mr. Hoskins had any favor to ask of the Society. 
He asked the favor of your lordship to ordain him, that he might min- 
ister to a little flock in America. But your lordship did not see good 
to ordain lihn / but your lordship did see good to ordain and send to 
America other persons, who know something of Greek and Latin, but 
know no more of saving souls than of catching whales. 

" My lord, I do by no means desj)ise learning : I know the value of 
it too well. But what is this, particularly in a Christian minister, 
compared to piety ? What is it in a man that has no religion ? ' As a 
jewel in a swine's snout.' " 

In Hebrew and Latin Wesley was learned, as also in French, 
Italian, German, and Spanish, which last three languages he studied 
during his mission to Georgia. His aptitude in linguistic studies ap- 
pears from the fact that, having found a liaK dozen Spanish Jews 
among his Savannah parishioners he mastered their language in a few 
weeks in order to conv'erse with them concerning the things of the 
kingdom of God ; while among his voluminous works were grammars of 
the English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and French languages, for the use 
of his Kingswood School. A number of translations from the French 
are among his published works, and of his translations of hymns from 
the German, of which there are about forty in the Methodist collec- 

360 Illustrated History of 

tion, Bisliop Odenlieimer in bis collection of " Songs of tlio Spirit '' 
pronounces this most complimentary judgment : — 

" Jolm Wesley, 1739-40, rendered or paraplirased some forty Ger- 
man hvrans, and often grandly. His work, indeed, is a unique phe- 
nomenon which no successors have equaled or are likely to equal." 

The list of Wesley's works includes, besides his original writings, 
no less tlian one hundred and eighteen revisions and abridgments 
from various authors, including theology, history, biography, poetry, 
politics, natural philosophy, and medicine. He was an omnivorous 
reader, and turned his reading to good account by reproducing its best 
results and discoveries in cheap abridgments for the use of his people. 
His Christian Library, in fifty volumes, 12mo., was a collection of " the 
choicest pieces of practical divinity which have been published in the 
English tongue," involving an immense amount of research. He 
also edited and published voluminous works on History, Natural 
Science, and Poetry. 

In 1753 he published his " Complete English Dictionary, Explain- 
ing most of the Hard "Words which are Found in the best English 
Writers : By a Lover of Good English and Common Sense," to which 
lengthy title he adds these words : — 

"]Sr, B. — The author assures you he thinks this is the best English 
Dictionary in the world." 

His treatise on " Electricity," his book of " Directions for Married 
Persons," and his work on " Primitive Physic," on the one hand, and 
his Devotional Manuals, Essays on Christian Perfection, Ecclesiastical 
History, and Original Sin, on the other, lead to the double wonder how 
such a traveler and preacher could find time to read, write, and publish 
so great a number and variety of books, as well as how such a student 
and editor could find time to preach and travel at all. This is, 
however, accounted for by his constant habit of reading on horseback 
or in his carriage ; his long journeys giving him time for the Hterary 
work which would have been enough to make him famous if he had 
been nothing else than a literary man. 

IVesley's M etliod in Theology. — The man who sets out 
to establish a system of theology is exposed to the same sort of temp- 
tations as were some of the early geographers in their first attempts to 
construct a terrestrial globe. 

Wesley's Method in Theology. 361 

There ^vere a good many features of the earth's surface whose 
shape and place they knew quite well; these they set down first. 
Next they turned their attention to a confused mass of world-making 
materials of whose position, size, and structure they were only par- 
tially informed, which they j^roceeded to locate and describe approxi- 
mately, while waiting for further measurements and discoveries. 

Having now utterly exhausted their small stock of geograjjhical 
knowledge, they must have been amazed, perhaps alarmed, to see how 
large a portion of the surface of their globe was still an absolute blank. 
But it would not look well to leave it so : such a confession of igno- 
ranee would discredit their entire production ; therefore they fell to 
work creating a globe, that is, making one out of nothing. From 
their plentiful lack of knowledge they threw uj) a mountain here, 
scoojDcd out a lake there, traced a river yonder ; they sprinkled vast 
territories with sand and called them deserts, they dotted the seas 
with islands, drew with unsteady hand the shore line of a possible 
ocean on the north, and a possible continent on the south ; and, having 
filled up the space as far as possible with names of objects known and 
unknown, they jjroduced a very pretty world indeed ; having, however, 
tliis one defect, namely, it was not very much Kke God's world. 

Much in this way wrought Augustine, Calvin, and the rest of the 
great doctors of inferential theology ; which serves to account for the 
wide difterence, at many points, between their teachings and those of 
the word of God. But so did not John "Wesley. He felt no respon- 
sibility for the plan of salvation other than to preach it with all his 
might. The divine " decrees " were none of his business ; the " secret 
will of God " did not challenge his curiosity ; it was no part of his 
mission to construct a full-orbed system of religious logic, but only to 
explore and illustrate God's world of revelation : therefore he tauglit 
what was plain, searched out what was only hidden to be searched for, 
and when he came to the end of the Scripture teaching, instead of 
traveling blindly on by means of inferences and analogies, he stopj^ed 
at the shore of the infinite, and wrote upon its sands that honest 
word — Unknown . 

"Wesley's method in theology was the bibhcal method, as op- 
posed to the systematic method. In his day the holy Scriptures 
were " a dark continent," even to most of tlie clergy, which Wesley 

362 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

felt it his "first great duty to explore. In tlic preface to a volume of 
his sermons, lie says : — 

" I want to know one tiling, tlie way to lieaven. God liimself lias 
condescended to teacli the way; for this very end he came from 

" He hath written it down in a book ! 

" O give me that book ! 

" At any price, give me the book of God ! 

" I have it : here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man 
of one book." 

Here was a man — may his tribe increase ! — who had the courage of 
faith. He professed to believe that what the Bible says God says ; 
therefore, he accepted it as it stands, as well as all the consequences it 
carries, without trying to warp it into conformity with any human 
opinion. Well was it said of John Wesley, "He had a genius for 
godhness." With equal tmth it may be said, he had a genius for 

However well developed that side of a man may be whose outlook 
is toward the natural world, he cannot be a great religious leader 
unless the God- ward side of him be full-grown. ISTo amount of knowl- 
edge will supply a deficiency in faith. Our Lord said not, If ye have 
great knowledge, or judgment, or skill, ye shall remove mountains ; 
but, " If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, . . . nothing shall 
be impossible unto you." Because of the almost matchless abilities of 
John Wesley as a scholar, administrator, etc., some of his biographers 
have been misled into a search among these human powers for the 
solution of his life-problem ; but the true answer to the question. How 
came Wesley to be the man he was ? is found in the immediate rela- 
tions he held with the Infinite. Without his mighty faith, which 
certain impotent yet boastful men have called superstition and cre- 
dulity, he would have been no more of a man than they. 

By means of his absolute faith in God he allied himself to God, 
and thus became a co-worker with God. He saw that the results 
which the Gospel was intended to reach were supernatural ; hence, 
with a logic as simple as it was sublime, he reached the conclusion 
that supernatural power must accompany the preaching of the Gospel. 
On looking into the word of God he saw this power at work in the 

Wesley's Method ix Theology. 363 

ministry of the apostles. The Scripture called this power the Holy 
Ghost, and promised liis influence to accompany the Gospel. He was 
a preacher of the Gospel ; why, then, should not this divine power 
accompany his word ? For this his whole soul went out in prayer. 
At length his faith caught hold of the promise ; he felt himseK in 
alliance with Heaven ; power began to accompany his preaching, and 
the mountains began to move. Amen ! So let it be with us all. 

Wesley had two chief enemies to contend with — Calvinism and 
State-Churchism. The one he battled with the sword of the Spirit ; 
but the other, by reason of his strong prejudices and his wrong edifca- 
tion, for a long time baffled and checked him. At length he came to 
understand that people are not for governments, but that governments 
are for the people — a jDrinciple which holds good in God's govern- 
ment as well as in any other — and from that time he was master of 
the situation. 

The State-Church, hke all other hereditary governments, labored 
under the delusion that the people were its property, to be taxed and 
tithed for its maintenance and to be governed by its will and pleasure : 
Wesley, on the other hand, claimed that the Church is a constitutional 
monarchy, established for the benefit of the people, having the holy 
Scri])tures for its Magna Charta and Jesus Christ for its King : what- 
ever, therefore, in the Church of England was opposed to this funda- 
mental idea he came at length to regard as having no binding force, 
and in the last of his career he did not hesitatate to appeal from Can- 
terbury to Jerusalem, from the Prayer Book to the Bible, and from 
the Bishop to Christ. 

'ii y^y^. '.J^j;\^,'. ^^^^^ 


kb- . 

J--A.> i. 

The Beitish Wesleya^ Conference. 


















Where Held. 

Manchester . . . 




Manchester. . . 




Manchester. . . 




Manchester. . . 






Manchester. . . 






Manchester. . . 

London , 


Leeds , 


Liverpool . 

Manchester . . 



Leeds . 


Liverpool . . . 


Sheffield. . 
Leeds. . . . 
Bristol . . . 

Liverpool . 


Thompson, W , 

Mather, Alexander. . , 

Pawson, J 

Hanb}', Thomas 

Bradford, J , 

Taylor, T 

Coke, T., LL.D 

Benson, Joseph 

Bradburii, S 

"Wood, James 

Pawson, John 

Taylor, Joseph, (1st). 
Bradford, Joseph.... 

Moore, H 

Coke, Thomas, LL.D. 

Clarke, A., M.A. 

Barber, J 

Wood, James 

Taylor, Thomas 

Benson. Joseph 

Atmore. Charles 

Entwisle, Joseph. . . . 
Griffith, Wal 

Clarke, Adam, LL.D.. 

Barber, John 

Reece, R 

Gaulter. John 

Edmondson, .Jon 
Crowther, Jon. . . 


Bunting, Jabez, A.M. 
Marsden, George 

From what Circuit. 

Clarke, A., LL.D., F.S.A 
Moore, Henry 

Newton, Robert 

Entwisle, Joseph. 
Watson, Richard.. 
Stephens, J 

Bunting, Jabez. 

Townley, J., D.D. 

Morlny, G 

Marsden, George.. 

Newton, R. 

Wakefield , 


Liverpool . 
Leeds. ... 
Bristol . . . 
Oldham.. . . 


Manchesier. . . 


Birstal , 


Birmingham.. . , 








Rochester. . . . 

London, East. 


Manchester . . 
Rochester. . . . 

London, East.. 



London, N. E. 


Birmingham.. . . 
London, North. 
London, North. 

2d Manchester. . 

London.. . . 
Deptford . . 
2d London. 






1814 } 

1822 f 






1806 } 
1822 f 


( 1828 

\ 1836 

( 1S44 


j 1806 

( 1814 






( 1820 ) 
-v' 1836 V 


3d Manchester. . 


























1 833 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 




From what Circuit. 

J 833 









Manchester. . . . 



Birmingliam. . . . 





Manchester .... 




Leeds. . . . 
Bristol . . . 


Manchester . . 





Birmingham. . . 





Manchester . . . 


Camborne. . . . 


Bradford .... 
Birmingham . 



Liverpool .... 



Manchester. . 


Camborne.. . . 





TrefErv, Richard 

Taylor, J., (2d) 

Reece, Richard 

Bunting, Jabez, D.D. . . . 

Griudrod, E 

Jackson, T 

Lessey, T 

Newton. Robert 

Dixon, James, D.D 

Hannah, J., D.D 

Scott, J 

Bunting, Jabez, D.D. . . . 

Stanley. Jacob 

Atherton, W 

Jackson, S 

Newton, R., D.D 

Jackson, Thomas 

Beecham, J., D.D 

Hannah, John, D.D. . . . 

Scott, John 

Lomas, John 

Farrar, John 

Keeling, Isaac 

Touug, Robert 

West,''F. A 

Bowers, Jolm 

Waddy, Samuel D., D.D, 
Stamp, Wm. "VTood, D.D 

Rattenbury, John 

Prest, Charles 

Osborn, G., D.D 

Thornton. Wm. L, M.A 

Shaw, William 

Arthur, William, M.A. . 

Bedford, John 

Hall, Samuel R 

Jobson, Fred'k J., D.D . 

Farrar, John 

James. John H. D.D. . . 
Wiseman. L. H., M.A.. 

Perks, G. T. M.A 

Pimshon, W. M., LLD. 

Smith. G., D.D 

M'Aulay, Ale.xander. . . . 
Pope, William B., D.D.. 
Rigg, James H.,D.D... 

Bristol, South. . 
1st London . . . . 
3d London 


1st London . . . . 


6lh London. . . . 

2d Leeds 

3d Manchester. . 


1st London 


4th London. . . . 
6th London. . . . 
Stli London. . . 

Stockport, N. . . 





5th Manchester 


8th London. . . . 

1st Loudon 

9th London. . . . 










Manchester . . . . 
Manchester. . . . 




Mission House.. 
Mission House.. 





London , 















1 20 




From "The Lost I'urtrait." recovered '>y Dr. Hoherts, of Baltimore. 





METHODISM is divine. It sweeps in the gale, glows with the 
fire, and speaks with the tongues of Pentecost. 

Tlie early Methodists were apostolic : nothing short of the ends of 
the earth could stop them. They extended their lines to India and 
Africa on the east, and to the wilds of America on the west ; not, 
like so many others, to gain and govern in the name of the Lord, but 
always to give and to save. 

Puritanism, disappointed in old England, came to New England 
to found an empire for itself : Anglicanism, by virtue — say rather, 
vice — of its political status at home, claimed supremacy in most of the 
Southern Colonies ; Methodism, transplanted hither in the hearts of 
a few humble emigrants who never dreamed of empire^ soan outgrew 

370 Illustkated History of Methodism. 

them both, and in a little while became the great religions power of 
the land ; yet not as ha^'ing dominion over its faith, but as a helper 
of its joy. Methodism never martyred a man for his opinions. It 
has carried no weapons other than Bibles, H^-nm Books, and Disci- 
plines ; its only inquisitions have been love-feasts and classes ; its only 
camps have been camp-meetings : nevertheless, so grand has been its 
march and so swift its career of victory, that certain sagacious souls 
have thought they saw in its doctrines the scheme of the ultimate the- 
ology, and in its order the outlines of the ultimate Church. 

The "Heroic Age" of Metlioclism. — So wonderful is 
the history of this form of religious life, that he who sets out to record 
it finds himseK both elated and confused by the mighty rush of events. 
Planting himself on some eminence to which his love and loyalty have 
lifted him, the historian levels his glass and sweeps the horizon to 
search for first things. And these arc some of them : — 

On a little stumjDy clearing in the woods of Maryland an irrepressi- 
ble Irishman has built a log-cabin, in which he is preaching Free Grace 
as he experienced it in a Methodist Society across the sea : — down in a 
low street in the city of ISTew York a young Irish-German Wesleyan 
immigrant has been pushed into a lay pastorate by a strong-souled 
Methodist woman : — in a fort away up the Hudson Eiver, at a place 
called Albany, a British redcoat has taken up the sword of the Sj^irit, 
and is proving himself a good Methodist soldier of Jesus Christ, and 
a rare, rousing preacher withal : — and the distance from him to them is 
so short, and such large things have come of their small doings, that 
before he is aware of it these pioneers assume heroic size. He begins 
to see in these men who organized some httlc Methodist Societies like 
those they left in England and Ireland, and in that woman who 
planned a Methodist meeting-house and brought out a hidden Meth- 
odist preacher, the founders of a great spiritual empire — superior 
beings, before whose faith stood out in bold relief in 17C0 all that 
belono;s to American Methodism in 1879. 

But hero-worship, however poetic, is neither history nor religion. 
Another look at those shadowy forms shows the observer his error. 
The fires they set have, indeed, spread over half the continent, and may 
yet overinin the world; but the people who kindled them were nowise 
dijjerent from other good Methodists. The prophecy and the pov.-er 

The "HePwOic Age" of Methodism. 3T1 

were in tlie fire, and not in tlie natures of those who kindled it. Even 
the live coals wherewith the flames were lighted came from British 
altars whereon God had wrought again, in spiritual power and glory, 
the burning miracle of Carmel. 

At length the observer comes to see that if he would deal in his- 
tory instead of poetry he must shut up his glass, come down from his 
eminence, go back in thought to those early years, take his place as 
near as may be by the side of those early Methodists, enter into their 
Hves, go to class-meeting with them — it will not be necessary to back- 
slide with some of them — join in their struggles to build a house of 
worship, sing and pray and shout with them in the swift-coming reviv- 
als, go down to the sea with them to meet the elders and the Bish- 
op who come \nth the benedictions of God and of his servant John 
Wesley upon their heads, invade the wilderness with " the saddle- 
bags men," listen at rude camp-meeting altars where tongues of fire 
are speaking, mourn with the faithful over the strife of wrong-headed - 
brethren, learn how to mollify magistrates, face down mobs, outwit 
the skulking Indian, out-argue the well-intrenched Calvinist, put out 
some of the false lights of Unitarianism and Universalism by preach- 
ing a Gospel larger and a better salvation than they ever offered, tram- 
ple on State-churchism till it has been ground into the dust, and thus, 
step by step, march down the century hand in hand with the grand- 
fathers and grandmothers, watching the up-.springing steeples and lis- 
tening to the call of college bells, till he reaches the time when their 
grandsons and granddaughters are numbered by millions at home, and 
have actually put a missionary girdle around the earth. If the his- 
torian can make this journey and not get lost, he may be able to con- 
struct an outhne of the history of Methodism out of the notes he has 
taken by the way. 

When he enters the cabins, the class-meetings, and the congrega- 
tions of these pioneers, he finds that they are made of the same mate- 
rials, and in about the same proportions, with the same strong points 
and the same weak ones which he observes in his brethren and in 
himself. Is it disloyalty in him that he ventures for a moment to 
prefer the preaching of Simpson to that of Asbury, and thinks he 
sees a large improvement in the Church during its first hundred years, 
not only in its methods but it the average of its men ? 

372 Illusteatzd History of Methodism. 

Here comes Jesse Lee ; a man so large that it actually takes two 
horses to transport him ; starting off to explore the wilderness of 
Maine ; and as the liistorian keeps his jocund company, and hears him 
preach some three or four great sermons over and over till he has 
come to know and love them wondrous well, is it heresy to hint that 
it were easier to do the work this man is doing than to build the Peo- 
ple's Church, or face the self -same Boston congregation with two fresh 
sermons a Sunday for three successive years ? Can it be possible, after 
all he has dreamed and heard and read of the " old-fashioned Meth- 
odists," that the former days were no better than these ? 

TThile he hesitates, a few significant facts straggle into his recol- 
lection. Methodism is-, as it always was, a training school. Asbury 
came to be great by trying to- grow as fast as his diocese ; and must it 
not still further broaden a Bishop to span the earth in his thought 
and his journey, and deepen him to stand where he continually feels 
the thrill of the life of a great, strong, happy, aggressive Church, 
whose place is in the vanguard of Christendom, and whose songs 
already echo round the world ] 

There were giants, too, among the old Presiding Elders, with dis- 
tricts large enough to form whole States ; but the circuits also were 
large in proportion, and the membership widely scattered. The chief 
struggle of that day was with distance. Does not the Disciphne hint 
at this when it divides the regnilar ministry into "' traveling deacons " 
and " traveling elders ? " as, also, when it says, " The duties of a Presid- 
ing Elder are. To travel through his district ? "' 

But a traveling elder might get on more easily atop of a good 
horse, such as the fathers used to ride, with Methodist houses miles 
apart, than on the pavements of a great city with a crammed, crowded, 
josthng district on his hands, across which he can travel luxuriously 
in haK a day. 

Again, the broader culture of the men, the larger opportunities of 
the women, and the earlier conversion of the children, stand forth as 
prominent and encouraging facts in the recent life of the Church ; and 
thus, in spite of poetry and tradition, the historian comes at length to 
doubt if the golden a^e of Methodism be not out of sight before him, 
instead of on the dim horizon behind. 

Does he thus lose sight of the " heroic period ? " 

Methodism a Theological Reform. 373 

By no means : the heroic period has lasted until now. Wlien it 
shall have ended Methodism itself will have come to an end. 

The true philosophy of Methodist history, therefore, does not seek 
to account for its success by assigning great abilities to those who 
wrought in its first fields. Its force is not in its personality, but in its 
divine inspiration. 

Methodism a Theolog^ical Reform. — The theology of 
most of the Colonial Churches was overloaded with logic. Some of 
its peculiar and prominent features (which, since they have become so 
odious it were almost a discourtesy to exhibit, if this history could 
be at all complete without them) were mere inferences deduced from 
selected texts in the argumentative portions of the Pauline epistles : 
a heavy burden for believers to carry, and one which, like other 
borrowed trouble, they were forced to bear alone. There were vital 
truths in this theology common to all evangelical creeds, which used 
to reach men's consciences, generally rather late in life ; but the great 
theological doctors of the country, with occasional grand exceptions 
like Edwards and Jarratt, were so occupied in drawing inferences in 
support of their doctrinal system that the preaching of the Gospel, 
pure and simple, was very much neglected; and it was in spite of 
these doctrinal peculiarities, which were temporarily laid aside in 
times of revival, that the work of grace went on at all. 

And what shall be said of the God who was feared — not loved — 
under the teachings of this theological system ? 

He was, indeed, a trinity in unity ; but he was a being who was, first 
of all, a governor : hence, whatever deity this may have been, it could 
not have been " The Father." A Son of God was preached who did 
not die for " every man :" or, if he did, the benefits of his sacrifice 
were carefully fended off from all but a favored few : hence, whatever 
Saviour this may have been, it was not " Our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ." A Holy Spirit was described who either could not or would 
not save a soul except by slow degrees, and then would not suffer him 
to know whether he were saved or not : thus, whatever Spirit this may 
have been, it certainly was not " The Comforter." 

With such fundamental errors in the conception of the Divine 
Being it was no wonder that, while the population was rapidly increas- 
ing, true religion was rapidly declining. 

374 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

Against the so-called orthodoxy of the time three chief opponents 
had risen up : Universalism, Unitarianism, and Infidelity ; eacli, in its 
way, a protest against the Calvinistic idea of the Deity, and each, in its 
way, a serious danger to the rising young nation. It was in such a 
time of need that the Lord, whose tender mercies are over all his 
works, sent Methodism across the sea to declare him to his children, 
just as he has declared himself in his word. 

AVhen the Methodist preachers began to set forth a Father who is 
not willing that any of his children should perish ; a Saviour who tasted 
death for every man ; and a Spirit whose special work it is to sanctify 
believers, and to witness with their spirits that they are the children 
of God, the Lord owned their word as he did not own the words of 
much more able and classical and theological men in the pulpits of 
America ; and multitudes of sinners, finding out who God really was, 
began to believe on him, seek him, and love him. 

The Methodists taught a plan of salvation large enough to save 
completely all who stood in need of it ; plain enough for any one to 
find who looked for it ; actually within the reach of any one who 
sought it ; and free for any one who would take it. 

John Calvin's God was an absolute autocrat ; an infinite Will, 
whose subjects had no rights which he was bound to resj)ect ; Metli- 
odism preached the Deity whose other name is Love, whose kingdom 
of grace is a constitutional monarchy, the basis of which is pardon 
for penitents, purity, joy, and power for believers, and for all sinners, 
however weak and wicked, the tenderest patience and absolute fair 
play. No wonder, then, that a Church with such a theology should 
have distanced all others. Xo wonder that it should have modified the 
theology to which it opposed itself ; and that even the overflow of 
Methodism should have been among the large benedictions enjoyed 
by other evangehcal communions. This was, doubtless, God's set time, 
and his appointed way, in which to favor his American Zion. 

1766 and Before. — The event officially chosen from which 
•to reckon the age of Methodism in America is the preaching of the 
first sermon by Philip Embury in his own house in New York in 
1766 ; but there are events of no little interest that appear to have 
preceded this, which, if too small to form the first chapter of Ameri- 
can Methodism, are, nevertheless, worthy to stand as a preface. 

Robert Strawbridge. 


Neither the mission of the "Weslejs nor the preaching tours of 
Whitefield can be regarded as the beginning of any thing permanent 
in America. Wesley in Savannah was a grievous failure ; and White- 
field formed no Societies out of the fruits of his labors, but left the 
ingatherings of the hai'vest to the regular ministry. No doubt this was 
the only course open to him, for if he had interfered in any way with 
the established order of things, even his fiery eloquence would not 
have saved him from the religious wrath of orthodox Colonial 


From Dr. Roberts's " Centennial Alburn,^'' Baltimore, 1866. 

Robert Stra'wbridge. — The first Methodist immigrant who 
opened his commission as a local preacher in the American Colonies — 
if the statement of Bishop Asbury, and of certain other contemporary 
authorities is to be accepted — was Robert Strawbridge, a genuine 
Irishman, lively, improvident, full of religion, who came to America 
with his family about the year 1760, and settled on Sam's Creek in the 
woods of Maryland. 

Strawbridge was born in Dramsnagh, County of Leitrim, the south- 

376 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

\vestern county of the northern Province of Ulster, on the borders of 
that section of Ireland which is famous in Methodist history as the 
field traversed by Gideon Ouseley, and swept by the great revivals 
which followed liis labors and those of his comrades in preaching, 
praying, and circulating the Scriptures in the Insh language. 

It was no light thing to set up for a Methodist preacher in that 
day and place, and young Strawbridge was forced to leave his native 
county and take refuge in Sligo, where the Wesleyans were numerous 
enough to protect themselves. 

As a man of business he was not successful. His mission seemed 
to be that of a roving exhorter ; nevertheless, he married a wife whose 
patience was quite as admirable as her husband's zeal, and in 1Y60 he set 
off for America, to better his unpromising fortunes. Having settled 
his family in a small cabin on Sam's Creek, in Frederick County, a 
few miles north-west from the town of Baltimore, he began the double 
work of farming and preaching ; his own house serving as a chapel. - 

It appears that his preaching throve better than his farming, for he 

* The date of Strawbridge's arrival in America ha9 been variously stated ; sometimes as 
late as 1766. The latest researches into this much disputed historic territory indicate that 
the time set down by the Rev. "W. Hamilton, in his article in the " Methodist Quarterly Re- 
view," of July, 1856, is approximately correct. He says Strawbridge emigrated to this country 
"in 1Y59 or 1760." He also states that "a Society consisting of twelve or fifteen persons 
was formed as early as 176-3 or 1764, and soon after a place of worship was erected, called 
' The Log Meeting-house,' about a mile from the residence of Mr. Strawbridge." — Methodist 
Quarterh) Review, vol. viii, pp. 435, 436. 

Mr. Michael Laird, of ITiiladelphia, w'hose father was intimate with Strawbridge, is 
quoted by the late Dr. Roberts, of Baltimore, in his " Centenary Album," as authority for the 
statement that "Mr. Strawbridge came to America in 1760 with his family, and settled on 
Sam's Creek.. He opened his house for divine worshij) at once, and continued preaching 
therein regjdarly. His congregations were large, many of whom came to see and hear the 
man. wJio,, f or a wonder,, was reported to preach and pray extemporaneously." If he opened 
his house for preaching " at once," instead of waiting for five or six years, as was the case 
with Embury,, who readied New York that same year, then, of course, he takes precedence of 
ajl .\jnerican Methodist preachers except Captain AVebb. 

The following extracts from Bishop Asbury's Journal are also cited as proof texts. In 
180P the Bishop held a Conference at the house of Henry Willis, on Pipe Creek, in the vicin- 
ity of ili\ Strawbridge's cabin and log chapel, and in his " Journal," vol. iii, page 24, new 
edition, he makes this entry; "^Ilere Mr. Strawbridge formed the first Society in Maryland 
and America.'''' The italics are his own. 

"This," says Dr.. Roberts, "was written after the reception of information on the gi-ound 
itself. By reference to his Journal it will be found that he arrived on April 30, 180L at 
Alexander Warfield's on Sam's Creek, and from there went to Henry Willis'.*, on Pipe 
Creek, where he i)roported to hold the Conference with about forty preachers. From the re- 
lation of the Warfield family to the Log Meeting-hou.-ie, and from the full knowledge of 
Henry Willis hiioself," (who was one of Asbury's most distinguished preachers,) " concern^ 




soon had organized several little Societies ; and, as is stated on his 
monument in Mount Olivet 
Cemetery, Baltimore : '* He 
built the Log Meeting-house* 
in Frederick County, Mary- 
land, 176-i, the first in Amer- 
ica." This structure, which 
has now been replaced by 
" The Stone Chapel," at once 
became the center of attrac- 
tion to large numbei-s of peo- 
ple, both white and black. 
It was a twice-sacred spot to 
the Strawbridge household, 
because under its rude altar 
two of their children were 
buried ; it was also the cathe- 
dral church of Strawbridge's little diocese, into which he organized his 
Societies, and over which he presided in true episcopal fashion; travel- 
ing it, it is readered indubitable that the Bishop here received more correct information 
than he had previously, and was induced to write in his Journal what he did." 

Dr. Wakeley, on the other hand, in his " Lost Chapters of Methodist History," doubts the 
correctness of the above entry, as, indeed, of many other of the Bishop's notes ; they being often 
jotted down hastily, sometimes in the saddle, and thus likely to be full of errors in dates, as 
they certainly are in names of persons and places. 

As a reply to this the Rev. Isaac Cook, a prominent Baltimore authority, has pointed out 
another entry by Bishop Asbury in his Journal, vol. iii, page 454 : " We came to son Francis 
Hollingsworth's, Little York. ... I sit seven hours a day looking over and hearing read 
my transcribed Journal; we have examined and approved up to 1807. As a record of the 
early history of Methodism in America my Journal will be of use." This would seem to do 
away with Dr. Wakeley's objection to the Journals up to a point far past the entry con- 
cerning Mr. Strawbridge. An error so great as that assumed by Wakeley could not reason- 
ably be supposed to escape the notice of both the author and the transcriber, and thus the 
probability remains that the disputed entry is correct. 

This, however, does not invalidate the genei-ally accepted date of 1766, as the time from 
which to reckon the commencement of the Methodist era in America. Bishop Simpson, in 
his " Cyclopedia of Methodism " points out the fact that the Log Meeting-house was never 
finished, and indeed never became, in the ordinary sense, a Methodist Church at all, since it 
was never owned by a Methodist Society. Those who are interested in this discussion will 
not fail to remember that in the settlement of the proper date from which to count the first 
century of British Methodism there was a similar difficulty ; which was at length overcome 
by balancing the importance of one event against the priority of another. Such, also, ap- 
pears to have been the official action of our own Church authorities in a precisely similar 

378 Illustrated History of Methodisji. 

ing and preadiing to the neglect of liis worldly affairs, and even taking 
it upon himself to baptize the ehildi*en and celebrate the Lord's 
Supper; an, assumption which afterward brought him into conflict 
with Asburj ; who, fresh from the training of Mr. AVesley, regarded 
the celebration of sacraments as the exclusive prerogative of the i*egu- 
lai' clergy. 

It was evident that the Lord was with this little Church in the 
wilderness in spite of its alleged irregularity, for its numbers in- 
creased in an encouraging manner, and in the log chapel on Sam's 
Creek as many as foui* or five preachers were raised up, who, under 
the direction of Strawbridge, traveled httle circuits on Sabbath, and 
worked for their daily bread on the other days of the week. If 
this was not Methodism it was something very much like it ; and 
when the regular preachers arrived from England they found in this 
zealous lay minister and his band of lay helpers a very hopeful begin- 
ning for a regular Methodist circuit. 

From 1760 to 1776 Strawbridge Hved on his farm on Sam's Creek ; 
which, had it not been for the toil of his wife and the charity of 
his neighboi-s, would have failed to keep liimseK and family from 
want. At length one of his wealthy friends, Captain Charles Eidgely, 
of Baltimore County, gave hun the life lease of a plantation at Long 
Green, where he ended his days in plenty and 2>eace. A considerable 
number of Methodists had by this time been raised up in the vicinity 
of the Log Meeting-house, and in 1783 it was replaced by a larger one, 
built of stone. This church was the scene of a great revival in 1800, 
in which year it was again rebuilt as it appears on the preceding page. 

Methodism in Xevk' York. — "Behold how great a matter 
"a little fire kindleth ! " 

It was during tlie early part of the year 1766 that the people of 
one of the humbler quarters of the city of Xew York were startled 
by the outbreak of a new form of religion in their midst. A carpen- 
ter, by the name of Embur}-, who lived in a cottage on Barrack-street, 
(now Park Place,) had taken it uj^on himseK to be a preacher, and had 
set up a Church in his own house. The place was soon crowded with 
people, who were astonished at the preaching, deh'ghted with the sing- 
ing, and struck by the common-sense doctrines proclaimed by their 
quiet neighbor. 

Methodism in New Yoek. 


' In addition to tlie preacliing and praying, all of which was done 
with neither manuscript nor prayer-book, there were secret meetings to 
which only the initiated were admitted ; where it was said that women 
9ften prayed, and even stood up and made speeches just like the men. 
" Who are these strange people ? " was the eager inquiry. 


"They cair themselves Methodists." 

" Methodists ! What are they ? " 

" O, they are professors of a new-fangled religion set up by one 
John Wesley in England. These are some of his disciples." 

" Just come over, have they ? " 

" No ; they have lived in ISTew York five or six years." 

" How does it happen that nobody has heard of them before ? " 

" Well, they are a modest, quiet sort of people ; came originally 
from some place in Germany called the Palatinate, a little principality 


Illustrated History of Methodisji. 

on the French side of the Rhine ; but being of the Protestant religion 
they were driven out of their own country by the Popish King Louis 
XIY., and scattered over Switzerland, England, and Ireland. This 
was somewhere about 1690. In 1710 the British Government sent out 
nearly three thousand of them to the colonies of New York, Penn- 
sylvania, and North Carolina, and more are occasionally arriving along 
A^th the native English and Irish immigrants." 

" Are these Palatines all Metliodists ? " 

" By no means. Embury and his wife, a woman named Heck, and 

September 16, 1769. 

two or three others, are the only ones ever lioard of here. About fifty 
families of these Palatines settled in the county of Limerick, in Ireland, 
some fifty years ago : fine people they were, too ; some of the very 
best in the whole island. After awhile Mr. "Wesley's preachers went 
into those parts and converted some of them, and this little liandful 
of Irish-German Methodists has somehow been thrown into New 

Such was the scanty information obtainable concerning these 
strange people, who, instead of waiting, as ordinary colonists did, for 

Philip Embury. 381 

a minister of their own faith to estabhsh a Church for them, set about 
establishing a Church for themselves. 

Philip Embury. — Whether the first male Methodist of jSTew 
York was born in Ireland or in that French province of German-speak- 
ing people formerly called the Ehine Palatinate — and since included 
in the territory of Bavaria, which is now a part of the great German 
empire — is not certainly known. The date of his birth is also un- 
certain ; it may have been in 1T28 or 1730. His first schooling was 
in the German language, but he afterward attended an English school. 
He was simply a fair specimen of the boys of the Palatine village 
of BaUingran, or Balligarrane ; which was a charming bit of German 
thrift and Protestant morality in the midst of the Papist population 
of Limerick County. When his school days were over he learned the 
carpenter's trade ; learned it thoroughly, to his praise be it spoken ; 
married a wife of his own people, and emigrated to ISTew York when 
he was about thirty years of age. 

Concerning the great event of his life, that is to say, his experi- 
ence of saving grace, there is, fortunately, no uncertainty. Dr. 
"Wakeley has produced, in Embury's own clear and beautiful hand, the 
following personal testimony : " On Christmas day, being Monday, the 
25th of December, in the year 1T52, the Lord shone into my soul by a 
glimj^se of his redeeming love, being an earnest of my redemption in 
Jesus Chi-ist, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." 

Of course this is a Methodist testimony ; it would have been diffi- 
cult to find any like it which were not Methodistic at that day. 

In spite of his diffidence, the clearness of his exj^erience and the 
substantial qualities of his mind caused him to be promoted to the 
position of class-leader, and afterward to that of local preacher ; but 
preaching appears, from the first, to have been a cross for him, and 
his word was often with trembhng and tears ; but one look at his 
gentle German face must have been enough to show his hearers that 
he was honestly trying to do them good, that he was not ambitious 
for priestly honors, but was only venturing to preach because his duty 
to God and to them demanded it. 

It was this native diffidence, no doubt, that led him into the serious 
error of hiding his light for the first five years of his life in New 
York ; but it is plain that he did not fall into sin, as some of his 


Illusteated History of Methodism. 

countrymen did, for M'lien suddenly called on for a sermon, after five 
years' silence, he was able to stand up at once in tlie name of the 
Lord, and to preacli in liis own house to a little handful of his most 
intimate acquaintances — a task which he could not have performed, 
and one to which he would not have been invited, if his friends and 
neighbors had seen him falhng from grace. 

The First ]?IetSiodist Sermon in jVe^v York. — The 
circumstance which has become historic as the beginning of American 
Methodism brings out the face of a woman whose piety was of a 

\. ■ jS u 


more aggressive type, and by whose earnest appeal and energetic 
efforts a buried talent was brought forth, and the graces of the feeble 
company were strengthened, which seemed almost ready to perish. 

Barbara Heck * was also of the Palatine stock ; a woman 
of piety, persistence, and genius for affairs, in which last respect she 

*In view of the controversy concerning the name of this first Methodist woman in Xew 
York, wliether it should be spelled with an " e " or an " i " — a question quite as large as some 
others on which much time and labor have been spent to less purpose — the author wrote 
to her grandson, Mr. George Ileck, now residing in Prescott, Ontario, asking whether the 
heroine of early Methodism in New York were Barbara Hick or Ileck. His reply is here 

A yellow leaf from an old copy of " The Nature, Design, and General Rules of the United 
Societies in London, Bristol, Kingswood, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne," printed in London in 

Baebaea Heck. 


far excelled lier cousin, Philip Embury. She was the wife of Paul 
Heck, and the family were among the party of emigrants which sailed 
from the port of Limerick 
for :N'ew York in 1Y60. 
There were a few Method- 
ists among them, but for 
the most part they be- 
longed to the Irish Church; 
a Protestant body, but one 
in which there was little 
j^reaching or profession of 
experimental religion. 
After their arrival in jSTew 
York, with the exception 
of Embury and three or 
four others, they all finally 
lost their sense of the fear 
of God, became open 
worldhngs, and some of 

them subsequently fell into ^^^^ , __^_^ _ 

still greater depths of sin. baebaea heck. 

Late in the year 1Y65 another vessel arrived in ISTew York, bring- 
ing over Paul Euckle, Luke Rose, Jacob Heck, Peter Barkman, and 

1760, and once the property of the husband of this lady, bears the following, in clear, unmis- 
takable letters : " Paul Heck, his book ; price, twelve shillings." " The Christian Advocate 
and Journal," Xew York, September 30 and October 7, 1858, contains a number of affidavits 
of persons who were well acquainted with the family, all of whom call this lady " Barbara 
Heck." These are now before me : but doubtless the following letter will suffice : — 

"Prescott, June 23, 1879. 
" To the Eev. W. H. Daniels : Paul and Barbara Heck, my grandfather and grandmother, 
came to New York in 1700, remained there till the year 1770, and moved to a place called 
Camden, on Lake Champlain. They remained there till the year 1774, and then moved into 
Canada. Paul Heck and his sons, John, Jacob, and Samuel, were all well educated, and would 
not be likely to change the way of spelling their names, and I have never seen it spelled any 
other way than Heck. In the late Rev. J. B. Wakeley's history called ' Lost Chapters,' etc., 
you will see facsimiles of signatures of parties connected with early Methodism in Xew York, 
and among them you will see one written by my grandfather (Paul Heck) while he resided 
there. I will also inclose you two leaves out of an old book belonging to my grandfather, 
and I suppose he wrote his name in them when in New York, and you will see that he spells 
his name Heck. I will also send you an old 'New York Christian Advocate and Journal,' of 
October 7, 1858, in which you will see an article from the pen of one of our ministers, 

384 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

Henrv 'Williams, Palatines all; some of tliem relatives of Embury, 
while Ruckle was a brother of Barbara Heck ; but it does not appear 
that any of them were Methodists. In one of her visits to the new- 
comers Mrs. Heck found a party engaged in a game of cards. This 
had the effect of awakening her to a sense of the danger which threat- 
ened them in their new homes, where many old resti-aints were weak- 
ened and many new temptations beset them ; she therefore seized the 
cards, threw them into the tire, and gave her friends a solemn warning 
asrainst sin and an exhortation to holiness. 

She was now thoroughly aroused. If the new people were falling 
into careless and wicked ways it was no more than some of the pre- 
vious company of emigrants had already done ; and what was to pre- 
vent them from all becoming backsliders together unless they resumed 
the use of the means of grace which they used to enjoy at home ? 

(Rev. J. Carroll, and who still lives ia the city of Toronto, Canada,) that Barbara Heck, who 
broke up the card part}' in New York, came to Canada with her husband, Paul Heck, and 
lived the remainder of her Ufe here, died, and was buried in the old Blue Church burying- 
ground, about three miles west of PrescotL 

"When my brother John and myself went to New York, in the summer of 1859, in com- 
pany with the Rev. John Carroll, we took along with us the Rev. J. B. Wakeley, from Pough- 
keepsie, where he was then residing; and when we got to New York we all met at the Book 
Room, and the then editor, the Rev. Dr. A. Stevens, and Bishop Janes, and a few others 
were present ; and after comparing notes and documents and some old relics. Dr. Stevens 
remarked, after comparing the signatures of Paul Heck from Canada and that produced 
by the Rev. Mr. Wakeley from the old recording steward's book of Xew York, that they must 
have been written by one person ; and he (Dr. Stevens) said that there was something about 
the handwriting of Paul Heck which made the evidence incontestible. Bishop Janes was also 
satisfied that we were correct and Dr. Wakeley wrong. A year or two after the interview in 
Jy'ew York the Rev. Mr. Wakeley made us a short visit, and promised to have it corrected in 
his next edition, but I have never heard whether the second edition was published. 

"On page 91 of Wakeley's 'Lost Chapters'" you will see Paul Heck's signature, and this 
eame Paul Heck was one of the first trustees of John-street Church, and also one to whom 
the land (on which the church stood) was originally leased, and he was the husband of Bar- 
bara Heck, not the son, as Wakeley has it on the same page, (91.) You will see in the 
' Advocate and Journal,' which I send you, that Wakeley mixes up Paul Hick, of Xew York, 
who married Hannah Dean, as one of the first trustees ; but he was not one of the first trust- 
ees, for he was only sixteen years old when the first John-street Church was built, and 
he was not a member of the Church till two years after it was built, as you will see by read- 
ivk" page 544 of ' Lost Chapters.' On page 578 of ' Lost Chapters ' you will see the names 
of all the first trustees, appointed in the year 1768, and among them the name of Paul Hick, 
(should be Paul Heck,) and on page 581 ('Lost Chapters') you will see that in 1786 a new 
batch of trustees were appointed, and among the numl)er one Paul Hick. Tliis Paul was 
Hannah Dean's husband, not Barbara Ruckle's husband. 

"Yours truly, 


The Fikst Methodist Sermon in New York. 385 

tier cousin was a Kcensed preacher ; he must open the Bible and open 
his mouth ; there were a few surviving Methodists within her acquaint- 
ance ; these must be gathered into a Society just such as they used to 
have in Balligarrane. With this new purpose firmly settled in her 
mind, she started for the house of Embury, gave him an account of 
what she had seen and done, and begged him to take up his cross at 
once and begin to preach in his own house. 

It was no easy task for a modest man Hke Embury to resume in 
cold blood the duty which was always a heavy task for him, and which 
had now for so long been laid aside ; but the woman was determined ; 
she argued, urged, and finally, falhng upon her knees, adjured him in 
God's name to preach ; and when he, with a sense of horror lest his 
neglect might result in the loss of souls, consented, she hastily went 
out and brought in five or six of their neighbors, and to this little con- 
gregation Philip Embury, in his own house, preached liis first sermon 
in America. Two classes were presently organized, one of women and 
the other of men ; doubtless Barbara Heck was the leader of one, and 
Philip Embury of the other. 

No small excitement was caused by these little assemblies. SjDecta- 
tors came in crowds, including some soldiers from the barracks near 
by, and among the first-fniits of the revival which crowned their fee- 
ble labors were three members of the regimental band, who had been 
attracted by the singing, and who became very useful afterward as 
exhorters. The next victory was among the inmates of the poor-house, 
to whom Embury was invited to preach. Auspicious beginning! 
" Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs 
of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him ? " 
Was it not one of the proofs which Chinst gave of his Messiahship 
that " the poor have the Gosj)el preached unto them ? " Herein, also, 
appears the divine authenticity of Methodism, both in England and 

The cottage of Embury being far too small for the new uses to 
which it was put, a larger room was secured near by ; and to pay the 
rent of this room another means of grace, to wit, a collection of money, 
was added to those already in use. The Society flourished, was of one 
heart and one mind, and evidently increased in favoi- both with God 
and man. 


Illustrated History of Methodis^i. 

Captain Tl^ebb. — The fame of these doings spread far and wide ; 
it reached even to Albany, where was a man who seems to have been 

divinely stationed there as a 
re-enforcement to the little 
band in Kew York; awaiting 
only its getting into position, 
hoisting its colors, and opening 
the spiritual campaign. 

In the joint English and 
Colonial expedition, in 1745, 
against tlie French stronghold 
of Lonisburg, which command- 
ed the main entrance to the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence, there 
was a young British captain by 
the name of Webb. He was a 

^ - man of some wealth, good ed- 
~ ucation, and may have adojDted 

the profession of arms for the 
love of adventure, or to escape 
a life of idleness — that bane of so many gentlemen of fortune. 

It was a dark day for Captain "Webb on which they stormed and 
carried that fort, for he lost his right eye in the battle, and it was 
almost a miracle that he did not lose his life. A bullet liit him in the 
eyebrow and glanced into the eye, but, instead of keeping straight on 
into the brain, it again turned downward into his mouth. When the 
fight was over he heard himself pronounced a dead man, but his senses 
had so far returned that he was able to deny it, and after three months 
in hospital he again returned to duty. 

His next campaign — if the somewhat conflicting reports may 
be harmonized — was ^vith General Braddock, in 1755, against the 
French Fort Duquesne, where the smoky city of Pittsburgh now 
stands. Here he was one of the very few officers who survived the 
ambush and slaughter of that terrible battle known as " Braddock's 
defeat ; " but, like Washington, with whom he fought that day, he 
could not be killed, for God had further work for liim to do, though 
in quite a different field from that of fighting the French and Indians. 


Captain Webb. 387 

Four years afterward he scaled the heights of Abraham with Gen- 
eral "Wolfe, on which occasion he was again wounded ; this time in the 
arm. The last of the French Canadian wars having ended with 
the capture of Quebec, which followed this victory, Caj^tain "Webb 
returned with his regiment to England, disabled for hard campaign- 
ing, though still in the prime of life. 

The conversion of this man under a sermon by Mr. Wesley, at 
Bristol, which occurred in the year 17C5, was a notable event for the 
Methodist Society, with which he at once united. It was not long be- 
fore it was discovered that he was a great preacher as well as a brave 
soldier. Entering a Methodist congregation at Bath, which was dis- 
appointed by its circuit preacher, he advanced to the altar in his regi- 
mentals, and addressed them with great effect, chiefly narrating his 
own Christian experience. "Wesley, who dehghted in the disciplinary 
regularity, the obedience, and courage of military men, not a few of 
whom entered his itinerant ranks, lost no time in persuading him to 
accept a preacher's license, and straightway Captain "Webb became one 
of the great lights of English Methodism. Wesley has left on record 
his very high opinion of this soldier of the Cross. After hearing him 
preach in the Old Foundry, he writes : — 

" I admire the wisdom of God in still raising up various preachers, 
according to the various tastes of men. The captain is full of life 
and fire ; therefore, although he is not deep or regular, yet many who 
would not hear a better preacher flock to hear him, and many are 
convinced under his preaching." 

Of his personal piety one of his intimate friends at Bath says : — 

" He experienced much of the power of religion in his own soul. 
He wrestled day and night with God for that degree of grace which 
he stood in need of, that he might stand firm as the beaten anvil to the 
stroke, and he was favored with those communications from above 
which made him bold to declare the whole counsel of God. His evi- 
dence of the favor of God was so bright that he never lost a sense of 
that blessed truth, ' the blood of Jesus Christ . . . cleanseth us from 
all sin.' " 

His natural powers of oratory greatly delighted John Adams — 
afterward President — who declared that the old soldier was one of 
the most eloquent men he ever heard. Another admirer calls him 

388 Illustrated History of METHODis^r. 

" a perfect "Whitefield in declamation ;" and still another tlius describes 
liis power over liis audiences : " They saw the wamor in his face, 
and heard the missionary in his voice. Under his holy eloquence they 
trembled, they wept, and fell down under his mighty word." He trav- 
eled widely in his own country, preaching to great crowds, which he 
attracted partly by his preaching and partly by his regimentals, and 
he was the means of the conversion of gi'eat numbers of people. 

How this Boanerges happened to be at Albany in 1766, living in 
his own house, which he opened for religious services, and acting as 
barrack-master of the English garrison, does not fully appear ; but it 
Mas doubtless a part of the providential scheme for planting Meth- 
odism in America; and to his faith, his zeal, his talents, and his 
liberality, the human side of this movement owes the largest measure 
of its initial success. 

The news of a Methodist Society in Xew York, and of a revival 
of religion already cro^ming its efforts, straightway brought Captain 
Webb down from Albany to see it. His first appearance in the 
preaching room, in full uniform, which he wore at Church as well 
as on any other soldierly duty, Avas a rather startling event to the 
congregation ; but their surprise soon gave place to delight when they 
found that he was a Methodist, and, what was more, a preacher. The 
captain was, as has already been seen, a great man in his way ; or, 
rather, in several ways ; and jwst those ways in which the little Society 
stood most in need of help. They needed a leader — "Webb was born to 
command. They needed another preacher of more experience, learn- 
ing, and power — Webb was one of the best preachers then on the Con- 
tinent of America. They needed money wherewith to house their 
young Society — Webb was both rich and generous. Truly, if they had 
been indulged by a choice out of all the Methodist preachers in exist- 
ence, except Wesley himself, it would have been a hard matter to suit 
themselves better than God had suited them, and that, too, before 
they had asked him for a preacher at all. 

The Rig^g;ilig: Loft. — Of course, with such a preacher came a 
large increase of congregation. The Methodist meeting, with its hearty 
fellowship, its delightful singing, and its red-coated minister, who 
preached with two swords lying on the desk before him — one of them 
the sword of the Spirit, the other the sword of a captain in his Majes- 

The Rigging Loft, New Yoek. 


ty's regulars — was now one of the marvels of IS^ew York ; and to accom- 
modate the increasing- crowds a loft over a sail-maker's shop in William- 
street was secured. It was eighteen feet in width bj sixty in length, 
but it would not hold haH the people who came twice a week to hear 
the brave Captain Webb and his faitliful Lieutenant Embury. How 
happy they were ! How happy people always are in revivals till 
somebody gets " hurt ;" or becomes too proud or stubborn to lose 
iiimself in the greatness of the work ! 


The First Methodist Church in America. — And now 

that " elect lady," Barbara Heck, receives what she believes to be an 
inspiration in answer to her prayers on this very subject, in the form of 
a plan for a meeting-house. It is a large house, two stories in height, 
built of stone — will cost, with the land to build it on, nearly a thousand 
pounds ; and w^here is all the money to come from ? 

390 Illusteated Histoey of Methodism. 

Embury, with his German caution and his mannish sagacity, pro- 
posed that they should lease a bit of ground for twenty-one years, and 
build a cheap wooden meeting-house ; but Sister Barbara had seen her 
chui'ch in a vision, and had heard the words, "Z the Lord, icill do it^'' 
and a woman of that stamp, with such a vision in her soul, knows 
nothing of failure or fear. Did she not project the Society out of 
almost nothing ? Who knows, then, but she can show them how ta 
build a church ? Thus the scheme which looked so wild and hopeless- 
to merely speculative eyes was, after two days of solemn prayer and 
fasting, deliberately adopted, and Captain Webb led the subscription 
list with the sum of thirty pounds, the largest amount given by any 
one subscriber. This was in the early part of 1768. 

The subscription paper bears the names of nearly two hundred and 
fifty persons, including all classes, from his woi-ship the Mayor, the 
aristocracy, and certain of the clergy, down to negro servants who- 
were so poor that they had only a single word for a name. 

The chapel was built of stone, faced with blue plaster. It was sixty 
feet in length by forty-two in breadth. Dissenters were not yet 
allowed to erect "regular churches" in the city; the new building 
was, therefore, provided with a fire-place and cliimney to avoid trans- 
gressing the law. There were side galleries to the building, which for 
a long time were accessible only by rude ladders ; the seats had no 
backs : it was a rough, unfinished place, but it was very neat and clean, 
and the floor was sprinkled over with sand as white as snow. Embmy, 
being a skillful carpenter, -uTOught diligently upon the structure. 
With his own hands he built the pulpit, and on the memorable 30th of 
October, 1768, mounted the desk he had made, and dedicated the hum- 
ble temple by a sermon on Hosea x, 12 : '' Sow to yourselves in right- 
eousness, reap in mercy ; break up your fallow gi-ound : for it is time to- 
seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." 

The house was soon thronged. Within two yeai-s from its conse- 
cration the building and the yard in front of it had a congregation of 
nearly a thousand people. It was called Wesley Chapel ; the first in 
the world that ever bore that name. 

From New York as a center the good work began to spread in 
various directions, especially south and south-west. Captain Webb, 
who was now free to travel, having been placed on the retired list 

Captaix AVebb's Laboks. 391 

with full pay on account of liis soldierly services, gave himself up to 
the work of an evangelist, besides taking the church building enter- 
prise under his especial care. In addition to his gift he advanced the 
sum of three hundred pounds without interest to help on that work, 
begged money for it, sold religious books and gave the profits to it, 
and did a great deal of good preaching in the house after it was opened 
for divine worship. There were relatives of his wife living at Jamaica, 
on Long Island ; thither he went, hired a house to preach in, and had 
the joy of seeing twenty-four persons converted. In ITew Jersey he 
formed Societies at Pemberton, Burlington, and Trenton. In Dela- 
ware he preached at Newcastle, Wilmington, and in the woods on the 
shores of the Brandywine. He was the pioneer of Methodism in Phil- 
adelphia, where he preached in a sail-loft and formed a class of seven 
members in 1Y6T or '68, and where he collected over thirty pounds for 
his beloved Wesley Chapel in ISTew York. He also gave Hberally 
toward the purchase of St. George's Church, in Philadelphia, two 
years afterward ; for Captain Webb was as generous as he was brave, 
and it was his firm belief that a covetous Christian, a stingy Methodist, 
a convert whose purse was not converted, was no Christian, no Meth- 
odist, no convert at all. 

Having now a work on his hands which was increasing and spread- 
ing with great rapidity, he appealed to his British brethren for money, 
and to Mr. Wesley for preachers to help in carrying it on. JSTot satis- 
fied with this, and having American Methodism so much at heart, he 
went to England in 1YT2 in its interest ; preached in London, Dubhn, 
and elsewhere ; made a stirring appeal for recruits for America in the 
Leeds Conference, and in 1YY3 brought back with him Messrs. Rankin 
and Shadf ord ; Messrs. Pilmoor and Boardman having already been 
sent out in response to his and other appeals. He continued his evan- 
gelistic labors with unabated zeal till after the breaking out of the 
War of the Bevolution, being one of the last of the English preachers 
to leave ; but finally the country became too hot for him, and he bade 
a reluctant good-bye to America, the scene of so many struggles and 
victories in his varied and eventful hfe. 

On his return to England he secured a home for his family in Port- 
land, on the heights of Bristol, but still traveled and preached exten- 
sively in chapels, in market-places, and in the open air, attended by 

392 Illustrated History of ^Methodism. 

immense congregations. IIa%'ing escaped so many dangers and deaths, 
he believed to the end of his days that a ministering spirit, a guardian 
angel, had through divine mercy attended him all the way in his 
diversified pilgrimage. From the year 1776 to 17S2, a time of war by 
land and sea, he annually made a summer's visit to the French prison- 
ers at Winchester, addressing them in their own language, which he 
had studied while in Canada. "Wlien he preached at Portsmoutli 
crowds of soldiers and sailors listened to him with all possible venera- 
tion, and in Bristol and the neighboring coimtry much spiritual good 
was effected. 

In 1792 he was liberal and active in erecting the Portland Chapel, 
at Bristol, one of the most elegant chapels in the Methodist Connec- 
tion if not in the kingdom, in which he preached his last sermon. He 
appeared to have had a presentiment for some time of his approaching 
end, and shortly before his death lie spoke to an intimate friend of the 
place and manner of his interment, observing : " I should prefer a tri- 
umphant death ; but I may be taken away suddenly. However, I 
know I am happy in the Lord, and shall be with him whenever he 
calls me hence, and that is sufficient." 

One of the leading Wesleyan preachers thus writes of his closing 
life: "I spent a profitable hour with that excellent man. Captain 
"Webb, of Bristol. He is, indeed, truly devoted to God, and has main- 
tained a consistent profession for many years. He is now in his sev- 
enty-second year, and as active as many who have only attained their 
fiftieth. He gives to the cause of God and to the poor of Christ's 
flock the greater part of his income. He is waiting with cheerful 
anticipation for his great and full reward. He bids fair to go to tlie 
grave like a shock of corn fully ripe." 

On the 21st of December, 1790. Captain AVebb suddenly entered 
into the joy of his Lord. 

The venerable soldier and evangelist was laid to rest in a vault 
made for him under the communion table at Portland Chapel; and 
the trustees erected a marble monument to his memory within its 
walls ; the inscription whereon pronounced him '• Brave, Active, Cou- 
rageous — Faithful, Zealous, Successful — the principal instrument in 
erecting this chapel." His name must be forever illustrious in oar 
ecclesiastical history, as, aside from the mere question of priority, he 

Taylok s Leti^er to Wesley. 393 

must be considered tlie principal founder of the Methodist Church in 

Taylor's Letter to 'Wesley. — The following letter to Mr. 
Wesley, written by Mr. Thomas Taylor, who had recently arrived from 
England and joined the Kew York Methodists, is well worth reading, 
for some side glimpses it gives at other things besides American 
Methodism. Only purely personal matter is omitted : — 

''New York, 11th April, 1768. 

"Rev. and vert Dear Sir: — I intended writinj!; to you for several weeks 
past; but a few of us liad a very material transaction in view; I tlierefore post- 
poned writing until I could give you a particular account thereof. This was the 
purchasing of ground for building a preaching house upon, which, by the bless- 
ing of God, we have now concluded. But before I pioceed, I sliall give you a 
short account of the state of religion in this city. 

"By the best intelligence I can collect, there was little eitlier of the form or 
power of it until Mr. Whitefield came over, thirty years ago; and even after his 
first and second visits there appeared but little fruit of his labors. But during 
his visit fourteen or fifteen years ago there was a considerable shaking among 
the dry bones. Divers were savingly converted ; and this work was much in- 
creased in his last journey, when his words were really like a hammer and like a 
fire. Most part of the adults were stirred up: great numbers pricked to the 
heart, and, by a judgment of charity, several found peace and joy in believing. 
The consequence of this work was, churches were crowded, and subscriptions 
raised for building new ones. Mr. Whitefield's example provoked most of the 
ministers to a much greater degree of earnestness. And by the multitudes of 
people, old and young, rich and poor, flocking to the churches, religion Ijecame 
an honorable profession. 

"There was now no outward cross to be taken up therein. Nay, a person who 
could not speak about the grace of God and the new birth was esteemed unfit 
for genteel company. But in awhile, instead of pressing forward and growing 
in grace, (as lie exhorted them,) the generality were jileading for the remains ot 
sin and tlie necessity of being in darkness. They esteemed their opinions as 
the very essentials of Christianity, and regarded not holiness, eitlier of heart or 

'"The above appears to me to be a genuine account of the state of religion 
in New York eighteen months ago, when it pleased God to rouse up ]Mr. Embury 
to employ his talent (which for several years had been hid, as it were, in a nap- 
kin) by calling sinners to repentance, and exhorting believers to let their light 
shine before men. He spoke at first only in his own liouse. A few were soon 
coiled etl together and joined into a little Society, chiefly his own countrymen. 

394 Illustrated History of Methodism. • 

Irisli-Gemians. In about three months after, Rrotlier White nnd Brotlier Souse, 
from Dublin, joined them. Then they rented :in empty room in their neighbor- 
hood, which was in the most infamous street in the city, adjoining the barracks. 
For some time few thought it worth their while to hear: but God so ordered it 
by his providence that about fourteen months ago Captain Webb, barrack-master 
at Albany, (who was converted tliree years since at Bristol,) found them out, and 
preached in his regimentals. The novelty of a man preaching in a scarlet coat 
soon brought greater numbers to hear than the room could contain. But his 
doctrines were quite new to the hearers; for he told them point-blank ' that all 
their knowledge and religion were not worth a rush, unless their sins were for- 
given, and they had " the witness of God's Spirit with theirs that they were the 
children of God." ' This strange doctrine, with some peculiarities in his person, 
made liim soon taken notice of; and obliged the little Society to look out for a 
larger house to j^reach in. They soon found a place that had been built for a 
rigging-house, sixty feet in length and eighteen in breadth. 

"About this period Mr. Webb, whose wife's relations lived at Jamaica, Long 
Island, took a house in that neighborhood, and began to preach in his own house, 
and several other places on Long Island. Within six months about twenty- 
four persons received justifying grace, nearly half of them whites — the rest 
negroes. While Mr. Webb was (to borrow his own i^hrase) ' felling trees on 
Long Island,' Brother Embury was exhorting all who attended on Thursday 
evenings, and Sundays, morning and evening, at the rigging-house, to flee from 
the wrath to come. His hearers began to increase, and some gave heed to his 
report, about the time the gracious providence of God brought me safe to New 
York, after a very favorable passage of six weeks from Plymouth. It was the 
26th day of October last when I arrived, recommended to a person for lodging; 
I inquired of my host (who was a very religious man) if any Methodists were in 
New York; he answered that there was one Captain Webb, a strange sort of 
man, wlio lived on Long Island, and who sometimes preached at one Embury's, 
at the rigging-house. In a few days I found out Embury. I soon found of what 
spirit he was, and that he was personally acquainted with you and your doctrines, 
and that he had been a helper iu Ireland. He had formed two classes, one of 
the men, and the other of the women, but had never met the Society apart from 
the couirregation, although there were six or seven men, and as many women, 
who had a clear sense of their acceptance in the Beloved. 

"You will not wonder at my being agreeably surprised in meeting with a 
few here who have been, and desire again to be, in connection with you. God 
only knows tiie weight of affliction I felt on leaving my native country. But 
I have reason now to conclude God intended all for my good. . . . 

"Mr. Embury lately has been more zealous than formerly, the consequence of 
whicii is, that he is more lively in jjreaching, and his gifts as well as graces are 
much increased. Great numbers of serious persons came to hear God's word as 

Taylor's Letter to Wesley. 395 

for their lives; and their numbers increased so fast that our house for six weeks 
past would not contain half the people. 

"We had some consultations how to remedy this inconvenience, and Mr. 
Emliury proposed renting a small lot of ground for twenty-one years, and to 
exert our utmost endeavors to build a wooden tabernacle. A piece of ground 
was proposed ; the ground rent was agreed for, and the lease was to be executed 
in a few days. We, however, in the meantime, had two several days for fasting 
and prayer for the direction of God and his blessing on our proceedings, and 
Providence opened such a door as we had no expectation of. A young man, a 
sincere Christian and constant hearer, though not joined in Society, not giving 
any thing toward this house, offered ten pounds to buy a lot of ground, went of 
his own accord to a lady who had two lots to sell, on one of which there is a 
house that rents for eighteen pounds per annum. He found the purchase money 
of the two lots was six hundred pounds, which siie was willing should remain in 
the purchasers' possession, on good security. We called once moie on God for 
his direction, and resolved to purchase the whole. There are eight of us who 
are joint purchasers, among whom Mr. Webb and Mr. Lupton are men of prop- 
erty. I was determined the iiouse should be on the same footing as the Orphan 
House at Newcastle, and others in England ; but as we were ignorant how to 
draw the deeds, we purchased for us and our heirs, until a copy of the writing is 
-sent us from England, which we desire may be sent by the first opportunity. 

" Before we began to talk of building the devil and his children were very 
peaceable ; but since this affair took place many ministers have cursed us in the 
name of the Lord, and labored with all their might to stop their congregations 
from assisting us. But He that sitteth in the highest laughed them to scorn ! 
Many have broken through, and given their friendly assistance. We have 
■collected above one hundred jjounds more than our own contributions, and have 
reason to hope in the wliole we shall have two hundred pounds; but the house 
will cost us four hundred pounds more, so that unless God is pleased to raise up 
friends we shall yet be at a loss. I believe Mr. Webb and Mr. Lupton will bor- 
row or advance two hundred pounds, rather than the building should not go 
forward ; but the interest of money here is a great burden — being seven per cent. 

"Some of our brethren proposed writing to you for a collection in England; 
but I was averse to this, as I well knew our friends there are overburdened 
already. Yet so far I would earnestly beg: if you would intimate our circum- 
stances to particular persons of ability, perhaj^s God would open their hearts 
to assist this infant Society, and contribute to the first preaching house on the 
original Methodist plan in all America, (excepting Mr. Whitefield's .Orphan House 
in Georgia:) but I shall write no more on this subject. 

"There is another point far more material, and in which I must importune 
your assistance, not only in my own name, but also in tlie name of the whole 
Society. We want an able and experienced preacher; one who has both gifts 

396 Illusteated History of Methodisjji. 

and grace necessary for the ■work. God has not, indeed, despised tlie day of 
small tilings. There is a real work of grace begun in many hearts by the preach- 
ing of Mr. "Webb and ]Mr. Embury; but although they are both useful, and 
their hearts in the work, they want many qualifications for such an undertaking; 
and the progress of the Gospel here depends much upon the qualifications of 

" In regard to a preacher, if possible we must liave a man of wisdom, of sound 
faitli, and a good disciplinarian: one whose heart and soul are in the work; and 
I doubt not but by the goodness of God such a flame will be soon kindled as 
would never stop until it reached the great South Sea. "We may make many 
shifts to evade temporal inconveniences ; but we cannot purcliase such a preacher 
as I have described. Dear sir, I entreat you, for the good of tliousands, to use 
your utmost endeavors to send one over. I would advise him to take shipping 
at Bristol, Liverpool, or Dublin, in the month of July, or early in August: by 
embarking at this season he will have fine weather in iiis passage, and probably 
arrive here in the moutli of September. He will see before winter what prog- 
ress the Gospel lias made. 

"With respect to money for the payment of the preacliers' passage over, if 
they could not procure it, we would sell our coats and shirts to pricure it for 

"I most earnestly began interest in your prayers, and trust you. and many 
of our brethren, will not forget the Church in this wilderness, 
''I remain with sincere esteem. Rev. and dear sir, 

" Your very affectionate brother and servant, 

"Thomas Taylor."* 

Early 3Ietliodif!»ui in Philadeliiliia. — In 1768 Captain 
Webb extended his evangelistic labors to the city of Philadelphia. 
The way had been opened for him by the good words of a Rev. Mr. 
Wrangle, a Swedish missionary, who had visited the city, and whose 
favorable impressions of Methodism from reading Mr. Wesley's 
writings induced him to advise his friends to receive the Methodist 
preachers ; who, from their M-ell-known enterprising spirit, he was 
sure could not be long in making tlieir appearance. A class of 
seven members was organized, and the Methodist head-quarters was 
established in a sail-loft on Front-street, near Dock Creek. This 
new appointment, also, the missionary captain added to his already 
wide preaching circuit, and the little vine grew and flourished under 
the sunshine of God's favor and the dews of his grace. 

♦Bangs, vol. i, p. 52. 

St. George's Chuech. 


St. George's Chnreh, the oldest Methodist Church now stand- 
ing in America, was for a quarter of a century the most spacious edi- 
fice owned by the denomination. Its walls and roof were erected by 
a Reformed German congregation, in 1763. It was a large building 
for those days, being no less than fifty-five by eighty-five feet, and its 
size and grandeur were the talk of all the country round. For nearly 
six years the congregation worshiped under its roof with its rough 
walls unfinished, and only the bare earth for a floor : at the end of 


that time, being hopelessly in debt, its trustees were arrested by the 
creditors, thrown into j)rison, and the house was put up at public 
auction to satisfy their demands. Among the bidders was a young 
man of feeble intellect, but of a wealthy family, who, from some 
foolish impulse, ran the building up to seven hundred and fifty pounds, 
Pennsylvania currency, (the " pound " in that colony was worth twa 
dollars and sixty-six cents,) and he was declared its purchaser. The 
young man's father, not wishing to publicly expose his son's infirmity^ 

398 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

paid tlie money for tlie cliurch, and then began to look about him 
to dispose of the property with which he was encmnbered; and, 
hearing of Captain Webb and his httle congregation, he offered to sell 
them the building for fifty pounds less than it had cost him. Captain 
Webb advised an acceptance of the offer ; his martial spirit suggested 
the name; and thus St. George's Methodist Church was founded. 
The building then consisted of nothing but the four walls and a roof, 
but Captain Webb in full regimentals stood upon the bare ground 
and preached Sunday after Sunday to large and admiring crowds, who 
could well spare the elegances and even the conveniences of church 
architecture with such a preacher and such congregations. 

For a long time this state of things continued, the Society being 
too poor to finish the church, so that its use for a riding-school by the 
British Army, when General Howe had his winter-quarters among 
the rebels in Philadelphia, was somewhat less suprising than if it had 
been possessed of doors, windows, floor, and the other usual appurte- 
nances of a house of worship. 

When peace was restored the congregation set about placing the 
church on a sound financial basis, and with this end in view adopted, 
as the church record shows, the somewhat questionable method of a 
lottery. Whether or not this brought money into the Church purse 
is not known. Every thing about the church was conducted in an 
<3conomic way, and so late as 1800 sand and not carpets covered its 

The rear wall on either side of the pulpit contains two high monu- 
mental tablets, on which are recorded the names of the long list of the 
pastors of " Old St. George's," as the place is affectionately called ; 
among which will be found the names of four Bishops of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, Asbury, Whatcoat, Roberts, and Scott ; Rev. 
Charles Pitman, a noted revivalist, under whose ministry the member- 
ship of the Church increased to the number of fifteen hundred ; the 
late lamented AKred Cookman ; and others of great mark and sainted 

In a little room in the building which the iconoclast's hand has yet 
spared several Conferences were held. In it still stands the chair in 
which Bishop Asbury sat, the desk at which he wrote, the hard benches 
which the preachers occupied, and around the wall are the same old 



400 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

wooden pegs on which they hung their broad-brimmed hats. It was 
in tliis Church that the first American Methodist Conference was held 
in the month of June, 17T3. 

This is the parent Society, from which have sprung tlie great fam- 
ily of ninety-three Methodist Churches that now stand in the city 
of Philadelphia and its immediate suburbs, with a membership of 
nearly twenty-five thousand, and Church property valued at over two 
and one half millions of dollars. 

Methodist Begiii»iii^s in Baltimore. — The honor of 
preaching the first Methodist sermon in Baltimore belongs to John 
King, an English local preacher, who immigrated to America in 1769. 
Finding that a large field was here o]3ened for the Gospel, he felt 
moved to devote himself wholly to the work of the ministry, and at 
once offered his services to the Society in Philadelphia, and desired of 
them a license to preach. While the brethren hesitated about the 
matter King made an ajjpointment to preach in the Potter's Field, 
now Washington Square, and there demonstrated his ability by a 
sermon among the graves of the poor. 

It was not long before he fell in \^4th Strawbridge on his embryo 
circuit in Maryland, and for some length of time the two men traveled 
and preached right lovingly and powerfully together. Perhaps there 
was over much power of one sort in the sermons of Brother King, for 
he was the man to wliom Mr. Wesley gave that solemn charge; 
" Scream no more at the peril of your soul. It is said of our 
Lord, ' He shall not cry ; ' the word properly means, He shall not 

King was accused by Mr. Wesley of being " stubborn " and " head- 
strong ; " but these were qualities hkely to be of good service amid the 
difficulties of a new country. 

Ilis pulpit, on the occasion of his first advent at Baltimore, was a 
blacksmith's block, as represented in the accompanying 2:)icture, the 
topography of which was studied from the location itself. The shop 
stood on what is now Front-street, near French-street, now renamed 
Bath-street, W. The foot-bridge here shown spanned the stream near 
Jones's Falls. The mansion in the distance is Howard Park, at that 
time the residence of Colonel John Eager Howard, the hero of the 
battle of Cowpens, in South Carolina. These grounds now comprise 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

one of the finest portions of Baltimore, containing, among other not- 
able stnictures, the famous Washington Monument and the elegant 
Mt. Yemon Place Methodist Episcopal Church. 

His next sermon was from a table, at the junction of Baltimore and 
Galvert-streets, His courage was tested on this occasion, for it was the 
militia training-day, and the drunken crowd charged upon him so 
effectually as to upset the table and lay him prostrate on the earth. 
He knew, however, that the noblest preachers of Methodism had suf- 
fered like trials in England, and he maintained his ground coura- 
geously. The commander of the troops, an Englishman, recognized 


him as a fellow-countryman, and, defending him, restored order and 
allowed him to proceed. Yictorious over the mob, he made so favor- 
able an impression as to be invited to preach in the English Chm'ch 
of St. Paul's, but improved that opportunity with such fervor as to 
receive no repetition of the courtesy. 

It is recorded that he " made the dust fly from the old velvet cush- 
ion " of the pulpit, and it is to be feared that, under the exhilarating 

Begine^ings in Baltimoee. 


effects of such unwonted good fortune, he may have partly forgotten 
Mr. Wesley's adjuration not to scream. 

As this stui'dy pioneer may not be met with again in these pages, 
let it here be recorded that he served in the ranks of the itinerant 
ministry, except an enforced location during the "War of the Eevolu- 
fcion, until 1803. At his death, in ISTorth Carolina, in a ripe old age, 
he was believed to be the last of the Methodist preachers who had 
shared in the pioneer service before the Independence of Ameriea. 






Volunteers for America. — ^IS'eitlier Strawbridge, Embury, 
Webb, nor King, came to America for the purpose of preaching the 
Gospel, though this was evidently the divine purpose in sending 
them. Their work was owned of God, and enjoyed by the people ; 
but there was also, in the judgment of these pioneers, a need of 
regularly ordained ministers. They did not conceive the "Holy 
CathoHc Church " to be " a rope of sand ; " but their hearts turned 
toward their spiritual father, Mr. Wesley, not only as a man who 
might send them ministerial re-enforcements, but, also, as the divinely 
iippointed head of a system of churchly order. 

The call of the American Methodists for preachers produced a pro- 
found impression in England. The news of the rapid progress of the 
work of grace among them kindled the enthusiasm of the Wesleyan 
itinerants, and before the Conference met at which missionaries could 
be duly appointed, some humbler men, imbued with the enthusiasm 
•of the new movement, were ready to throw themselves upon the 

Robert Williams. 405 

hazards of the distant field, that they might share in the first combats 
and help win the first victories in the name of the Lord. 

Robert Williams. — One of these men, whose soul was all 
ablaze with missionary zeal, was Robert Williams, an English local 
preacher, who, in view of the call from America, applied to Mr. Wesley 
for permission to go there and preach ; which was granted, on condition 
that he should labor under the direction of the regular missionaries 
whenever they should arrive. Williams had no money for his passage,' 
but he had a friend in Ireland named Asliton, a richer man than him- 
self, who was just about to embark for America ; he therefore hastily 
sold his horse to pay his debts, and with empty pockets but a full 
heart hastened to the ship, quite sure that his Irish friend would 
not leave him behind. In this he was not disappointed, and Williams 
landed in New York in October, 1769, nearly two months 'before the 
regular Conference missionaries arrived. 

To him belongs the honor of introducing Methodism into Yirginia. 
After some successful soul-saving work along with Strawbridge and 
King in Maryland, he passed on to Norfolk, Ya., in 1772, where he 
commenced his mission by a song, a prayer, and a sermon, from the 
steps of the Court-house ; and soon formed a little Society. 

Williams was the first publisher of Mr. Wesley's books in America. 
In the year 1773 he was received by the first Conference, at Philadel- 
phia; and he was the first of the English missionaries who found a 
grave on American soil. His death occurred near Norfolk, Ya., Sep- 
tember 2G, 1775. His funeral sermon was ^^reached by Mr. Asbury, 
in which he says : " Perhaps no man in America has been an instru- 
ment of awakening so many souls as God has awakened by him." 

Boardliiail and Piliiioor. — The records of the twenty- 
sixth Methodist Conference, held at Leeds August 3, 1769, contain 
these memorable questions and answers : — 

" Q. We have a pressing call from our brethren of New York 
(who have built a preaching house) to come over and help them. Who 
is willing to go ? 

" Ans. Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor. 

" Q. What can we do further in token of our brotherly love ? 

" Ans. Let us now take a collection among ourselves. 

" This was immediately done, and out of it £50 were allotted 

406 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

toward the payment of their debt, and about £20 given to our bretliren 
for their passage." 

Boardman, the senior of the two, was about thirty-one yeai*s of age. 
He is described as vigorous, zealous, a man of deep piety and strong 
understanding, and of an amiable disposition. He had been six years 
an itinerant preacher, and was at this time mourning the recent death 
of his wife. His Irish brethren at Cork, when, thirteen years later, 
they laid him in his grave, pronounced a high eulogy upon him as an 
eloquent and powerful preacher ; but his memory in America is pre- 
cious rather on account of his loving, gentle disposition, than of any 
distinguished pulpit abihty. 

Pilmoor had been converted in his sixteenth year through the 
preaching of Wesley ; had been educated at Wesley's Kingswood 
school ; and had now itinerated about four years, having been 
admitted to the Conference in 1765. He was a man of high courage, 
commanding presence, much executive skill, and ready discourse. His 
term of service in America closed in 1TT4, in which year he returned 
to England ; fell out with Mr. AVesley, who had failed to include him 
in the "Legal Hundred;" returned again to America; received ordi- 
nation in the Protestant Episcopal Church, and preached for some 
years in the cities of Philadeljjhia and Kew York, where he died in 
1821. If we may judge by his portrait he was a courtly gentleman, 
and possessed of natural abilities of a very high order. 

The Arrival of the Missionaries at Philadelphia 
was a memorable event. After a rouo;h vovao;e across the ocean, as 
they approached the Delaware Bay they encountered a most terrific 
gale, that strewed the coast with wrecks ; a fate which for a time 
their ship was expected to share ; but in the midst of danger, look- 
ing death in the face, Boardman says : " I found myself exceedingly 
happy, and rested satisfied that death would be gain. I do not re- 
member to have had one doubt of being eternally saved should tlie 
mighty waters swallow us up." 

At length, after a voyage of nine weeks, they landed at Philadel- 
phia on the 24rth of October, 1TC9. During part of this time the Rev. 
George AVhitefield was also on the sea, which for the thirteenth time 
he M'as crossing to preach and die in America. All the old theolog- 
ical quarrels between him and "Wesley had ceased long ago ; and on 


reaching Philadelpliia, from his beloved Orphan House at Savannah, 
he met the AV^esleyan missionaries, hailed them with joy, and gave 
them his blessing. 

The good work thus re-enforced went on more rapidly than ever. 
Captain Webb, who was on the shore at Philadelj)hia to greet them, 
put into their hands a plan of the American circuit, which, with the 
help of himself, AYilliams, and King, they were to travel, l^ew York, 
however, desired the full service of Boardman, while Philadelphia 
wished to monopolize Pilmoor, and thus at the outset tlie itinerant 
system, so vital to the success of Methodism in America, was in dangei* 
of being replaced by a settled ministry. 

Shortly after his arrival Boardman, who was the senior preacher, 
wrote to Wesley from New York, under date of November 4, 1769, as 
follows : — 

" There appears such a willingness in the Americans to hear the 
word as I never saw before. They have no preaching in some parts 
of the back settlements. I doubt not but an effectual door will be 
opened among them. O ! may the Most High now give his Son the 
heathen for his inheritance. The number of blacks that attend the 
preaching affects me much." 

In April, 1771, he reports a " great awakening," in which thirty 
persons had been added to the Society, " five of whom have received a 
clear sense of the pardoning love of God." 

Pilmoor was more abundant than Boardman in travels and advent- 
ures, if not more abundant in success. He opened his eommi'ssion in 
Philadelphia with a sermon from the Court-house stej)s ; filled his six 
months' term at St. George's Church acceptably, and then, after an 
exchange of parishes with the senior preacher, he took a wide range 
far to the south. He preached on the sidewalk in Baltimore ; pro- 
duced quite a sensation at Norfolk, Ya.; held forth in the theater at 
Charleston, S. C, iwhere he could find no other door open to him ; 
reached Savannah at last, where he paid a visit to Whitetield's Orphan 
House, every-where winning his way with all classes of people. 

His theater service at Charleston was interrupted in a manner 
which would have embarrassed a more diffident man. In the midst of 
his sermon what was his surprise to find himself, pulpit and all, sud- 
-denly lowered into the cellar ! Some sons of Belial, who were familiar 

408 Illusteated Histokt of ]\lEnioDis3i, 

with the mysteries of the stage, had contrived to have him placed on 
one of the traps in the floor, whereby he was made to disappear in 
spite of himself ; but, nothing banned or frightened, he sprang npon 
the stage, regained the table which had served him for a pulpit, and 
taking it in his anus he invited his hearers to adjourn with him to 
tlie adjoining yard, where there were no trap-doors to trouble him. 
"■ Come on, my friends," cried he ; '• we will, by the grace of God, 
defeat the devil this time, and not be driven by him from our work ; " 
and when they had gathered again about him he finished his sermon 
in triumph in the open air. 

His plain preaching on his first appearance at jS^orfolk had roused 
the opposition of the regular clergyman of that parish, who, after his 
departure, made an attack on the Metliodists from his pulpit, taking 
for his text the words, '" Be not righteous overmuch." This was duly 
reported to Pilmoor, who soon took a second occasion to preach in the 
town ; which was then a notoriously wicked place. He gave out that 
lie would take for his text the verse of Scripture next following the 
one which the parish parson had used against him, and when a great 
crowd had assembled, expecting something exciting, Pilmoor com- 
menced his sermon from the words, " Be not overmuch wicked." 
'■'I have been informed," said he, "that a minister in this town has 
given its citizens a solemn caution against being ovennucli righteous : " 
then, lifting his hands in amazement, he exclaimed, " And he hatli 
given, this caution in Norfolk I " 

The effect of such a turning of the tables can be better imagined 
than described. Tlie incident is of value as giving a glimpse of one 
of the men — and there were many like him — who heljjed to lay the 
foundation of the Methodist Church in America ; men who were in- 
aapable of fear, "who were surprised at nothing, and who did not know 
tihe meaning of defeat. 

Francis Asbury. — And now appears a name ever memorable 
iin the history of the Methodist Church in America ; a character of 
the purest and strongest that is possible to mortals, and a career tlie 
most lieroic tliat was ever witnessed under this AVestern sky. Like all 
the other great Methodists, he was first the product and then the pro- 
moter of Methodism. He grew with its growth and strengthened with 
its strength, till, from a good, conscientious, savingly -converted man of 

Francis Asbuky. 


sound common sense, and only fair ministerial talent, lie became tlie 
Jolm Wesley of the "West ; a man who, in the fullness of his strength, 
had no other peer as a captain of the Lord's hosts in all the English- 
speaking world. 

A careful study of his Journals affords no evidence of superior 
genius. Under ordinary circumstances he would have come to no 
greater glory and honor than that to which many of the better class 
of Methodist preachers have attained ; but God called him to be the 


For portrait of Asbuty in his younger d.i^-s see frontispiece of Part III. 

Bishop of the Methodists in America, as he called Wesley to be their 
Bishop in Great Britian, and to both these chosen servants he gave 
that broad, deep culture of episcopal experience and responsibility, and 
that heavenly gmce and power, which lifts tlieir heads so far above the 
ordinary level of the Christian ministry. The pre-eminent greatness 
of these men was not natural, but supernatural ; a further proof of the 
divine origin, character, and mission of that form of religion called 

But this is not the place to sum up and set fortli the character of 

410 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

the Pioneer Bishop : that task, at best a difficult one, can better be per- 
formed at the close than at the commencement of his career. It is 
always allowable in art to paint a man at his best. 

At the Weslejan Conference of 1Y71 volunteers for America were 
a^ain called for, and of the five who offered themselves two were 
chosen — Francis Asbury and Eichard Wright. The latter of these, 
after a short period of service returned to England, and disappeared 
from the ranks of traveling preachers; the former remained to win 
immortal fame. 

Asburv was then one of the young preachers; he had been in 
the ministry but five years, and was only about twenty-six years' old. 
He was, however, thoroughly grounded in Methodist experience, fairly 
well taught in Methodist doctrine, was a thoughtful, devoted young 
man, who could endure hardness, and one who could learn and grow. 
These solid qualifications won him the appointment as Mr. Wesley's 
" assistant " in America ; which title implied the general suj)erintend- 
ence over all the American work, though he was by far the youngest 
man in it. 

Asbury was the only son of poor parents. He was born in the parish 
of Handsworth, Staffordshire, about four miles from Birmingham, 
on the 20th of August, 1T45. Through childhood he was faithfully 
taught in the things of religion by his godly mother, was brought to a 
saving knowledge of Christ when a youth of fifteen, was a class-leader 
and a local preacher at seventeen, and at twenty-one an itinerant in 
the regular work. His school-days were neither long nor pleasant. It 
was his misfortune to fall into the hands of a brutal master, of whom 
he had such a dread that, though he was fond enough of his book, the 
school was quite insufferable ; lie, therefore, left it when about thirteen 
years of age and went to learn a trade. His want of early instruction 
was a great affliction to him in after life, concerning which he writes 
in his Journal : " While I was a traveling preacher in England I was 
much tempted, finding myself exceedingly ignorant of almost every 
thing a minister of the Gospel ought to know." This deficiency he 
made up in part. As he traveled liis great American circuits it was 
his custom to ride with his book open before him, and in this " irreg- 
ular " manner he made himself master of the Greek and Hebrew 
Scriptures, and other essential branches of sound learning. But the 

Feais^cis Asburt. 


great requirements were, a conscious experience of regenerating grace, 
and a divine call to the ministry of the word ; it being jjresumed that 
if God called a man to preach, he could preach; and that if he did 
his best God was willing to be responsible for the consequences. On 
these two points young Asbury was clear. Here is his own account 
thereof : — 

" Soon after I entered business God sent a pious man, not a Meth- 
odist, into our neighborhood, and my mother invited him to our house ; 
by his conversation and prayers I was awakened before I was fourteen 
years of age. It was now easy and pleasing to leave my company, and 


. y 


I began to pray morning and evening. I soon left our bhnd priest, 
and went to "West-Bromwick church : here I heard Eyland, Stilling- 
fleet, Talbot, Bagnall, Mansfield, Hawes, and Yenn ; great names, and 
esteemed gospel ministers. I became very serious, reading a great 
deal — Whitefield's and Cennick's sermons, and every good book ■ I 
could meet with. It was not long before I began to inquire of my 
mother who, where, and what were the Methodists ; she gave me a 
favorable account, and directed me to a person who could take me to 
"Wednesbury to hear them. I soon found this was not the Church — 
but it was better. The people were so devout — men and women 
kneehng down — saying Amen. I^ow, behold ! they were singing 

412 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

hymns — sweet sound ! Why, strange to tell ! the preacher had no 
prayer book, and yet he prayed wonderfully ! "What was yet more 
extraordinary, the man took his text, and had no sermon-book : thought 
I, this is wonderful indeed ! It is certainly a strange way, but the best 
way. He talked about confidence, assurance, etc., of which all my 
flights and hopes feU short. I had no deep convictions, nor had I com- 
mitted any deep known sins. At one sermon, some time after, my 
companion was powerfully wrought on : I was exceedingly grieved 
that I could not weep like him ; yet I knew myself to be in a state of 

" On a certain time when we were prapng, I believe the Lord par- 
doned my sins, and justified my soul ; but my companions reasoned 
me out of this belief. I gave up my confidence, and that for months ; 
yet I was happy ; free from guilt and fear, and had power over sin, 
and felt great inward joy. 

" After this we met for reading and prayer, and had large and good 
meetings, and were much persecuted, until the persons at whose houses 
we held them Avere afraid, and they were discontinued. I then held 
meetings frequently at my father's house, exhorting the people there, 
as also at Sutton-Cofields, and several souls professed to find peace 
through my labors. I met class awhile at Bromwick Heath, and met 
in band at Wednesbury. I had preached some months before I pub- 
licly appeared in the Methodist meeting-houses ; Avhen my labors 
became more public and extensive, some were amazed, not knowing 
how I had exercised elsewhere. 

" My mother used to take me with her to a female meeting, Avhicli 
she conducted once a fortnight, for the purpose of reading the Script- 
ures, and giving out hymns. After I had been thus employed as a 
clerk for some time, the good sisters thought Frank might venture a 
word of exhortation. So, after reading, I would venture to expound 
and paraphrase a little on the portion read. Thus began my gospel 
efforts, when a lad of sixteen or seventeen ; and now I would rather 
have a section or chapter for a text than a single verse or part of a 
verse. When the Society called me forth from obscurity my perform- 
ance in public surpassed all expectation. But they knew not that the 
stripling had been exercising his gifts in his mother's prayer-meeting. 

" Behold me now a local preacher ; the humble and willing servant of 

Feancis Asbuey. 


any and of every preacher that called on me by night or by day ; being 
ready, with hasty steps, to go far and wide to do good ; visiting Derby- 
shire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and indeed almost 
every place within my reach for the sake of precious sonls ; preach- 
ing, generally, three, four, and five times a week, and at the same 
time pursuing my calhng. I think when I was between twenty- 
one and twenty-two years of age I gave myself up to God and his 
work, after acting as a local preacher near the space of iive years. 

o — . 


" Some time after I had obtained a clear witness of my accept- 
ance with God, the Lord showed me, in the heat of youth and youth- 
ful blood, the evil of my heart : for a short time I enjoyed, as I 
thought, the pure and perfect love of God ; but this happy frame did 
not long continue, although, at seasons, I was greatly blessed. 

" On the Yth of August, 1Y71, the Conference began at Bristol, 
in England. Before this, I had felt for half a year strong intima- 
tions in my mind that I should visit America ; which I laid before 

414 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

the Lord, being unM'illing to do my own •will, or to run before 1 
was sent. During tliis time my trials were very great, which the 
Lord, I believe, permitted to prove and try me, in order to prepare 
me for future usefulness. At the Conference it was proposed that 
some preachers should go over to the American continent. I spoke 
my mind, and made an offer of myseK. It was accepted by Mr. 
Wesley and others, who judged I had a call. From Bristol I went 
home to acquaint my parents with my great undertaking, which I 
opened in as gentle a manner as possible. Though it was grievous 
to flesh and blood, they consented to let me go. My mother is one 
of the tenderest parents in the world : but I believe she was blest 
in the present instance with divine assistance to part with me. 

" I returned to Bristol in the latter end of August, where Richard 
"Wright was waiting for me, to sail in a few days for Philadelphia. 
When I came to Bristol I had not one penny of money ; but the 
Lord soon opened the hearts of friends, who supplied me with 
clothes, and ten pounds. Thus I found by experience that the Lord 
will provide for those who trust in him." 

It was in Asbury's native county of Staffordshire that some of 
the most violent persecutions of the Methodists occurred. The 
parish of Handsworth was in " the Black Country," of infamous 
memory, and Asbury and his mother had some experience of mobs 
and riots, though the worst of these occurred at an earlier date. 
This was the country of which Charles Wesley writes, that in riding 
through it one might distinguish the houses of the Methodists by 
the marks of violence upon them ; and where, on one occasion, John 
Wesley was clubbed almost to death. " The mob," he says, " reigned 
for nearly a week, and the noise on every side was like the roaring 
of the sea." It was at the risk of the rei)etition of these horrors 
that young Asbury commenced his work as a local j»reacher; an 
experience well calculated to save him from " softness," that special 
abomination of John Wesley. 

The last sermon of Francis Asl)ury in England was on the text, 
" From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is 
overwhelmed." Psa. Ixi, 2. And this was the plan of it : — 

" I. Where should the missionary herald be ? The end of the earth. 

" II. And whose heart should be overwhelmed, swallowed tip, if 

Asbuey's Views on Itinerancy. 415 

not the heart of liim to whom a dispensation of the Gospel is com- 
mitted ? 

" III. And whence should he look for succor but to Christ, the 
Rock that is higher than he ? 

" IV. How should he obtain that succor but by constant, fervent 
prayer ? " 

In referring many years afterward to this farewell discoui'se, 
Asbury said : — 

"Ah! often has my heart been overwhelmed during my forty 
years' pilgrimage in America. And if I had been a man of tears I 
might have wept my life away ; but Christ has been a hiding-place, a 
covert from the stormy blast ; yea, he has been the shadow of a great 
rock in a weary land." " Here," says the narrator to whom he was 
speaking, "the Bishop's voice trembled a little — his hp quivered — 
and the tears started from his half- closed, clear blue eye. But present- 
ly he was gay ; ' For,' said he, ' if I were not sometimes to be gay with 
my friends I should have died in gloom long ago.' " '- 

The arrival of Messrs. Asbury and Wright at Philadelphia, October 
T, lYTl, was hailed with joy. " The j)eople,'' says Mr. Asbury, " looked 
on us with pleasure, hardly knowing how to show their love sufficiently, 
bidding us welcome with fervent affection, and receiving us as angels 
of God." 

Asbury's View's on Itinerancy. — There is something fan- 
ciful in the saying of Wesley, " The world is my parish." He did, 
indeed, cross the Atlantic in his early life to preach to the Indians 
nnder the auspices of General Oglethorpe, in the Colony of Georgia, 
but his stay was a brief one, and after his real hfe work commenced 
he never left the British Islands ; though the sturdy claim of his ?'ighi 
to go every- where, and to preach every -where, was a most astounding 
doctrine to the localized Church dignitaries of those days. There is 
nothing fanciful, however, in saying of Asbury that he had the new 
world for his parish, for he made it into one great circuit ; and trav- 
eled it in true itinerant fashion for over thirty years : preaching inces- 
santlv, day and night, week days and Sundays ; stopping not for storms, 
without shelter ; for forests, without roads ; for rivers, without bridges ; 
or for a purse, without money. 

* Wakeley's " Heroes of Methodism." 

416 Illustrated History of ^Methodism. 

When he landed at Philadelphia in 1771 there were about COO 
Methodists scattered over his parish; with 10 preachers, including 
Embury and the brave old soldier, Ca^itain AVebb. His warm recep- 
tion gave him fresh vigor, and he plunged at once into the work ; first 
of all, like a skillful general, starting out to reconnoiter his position 
and view the fields of his future triumphs. 

His fii-st affliction was the habit of the preachers of going into 
winter quartei-s in the snug city churches. " At present I am dissatis- 
fied," sajs he. " I judge we are to be shut up in the cities this win- 
ter. Mv brethren seem unwilling to leave the cities, but I think I 
shall show them the way. I am in trouble, and more trouble is at 
hand, for I am determined to make a stand against all j^artiality. I 
have nothing to seek but the glorj of God ; nothing to fear but his 
displeasure. I am come over with an upright intention, and through 
the grace of God I wiU make it appear ; and I am determined that no 
man shall bias me with soft words and fair speeches ; nor will I ever 
fear (the Lord helping me) the face of man, or know any man after the 
flesh, if I beg my bread from door to door ; but whomsoever I please 
or displease I will be faithful to God, to the people, and to my own 

Asbury was as good as his word. He organized a circuit embrac- 
ing a large region around Xew York, and kept the Gosj^el sounding 
through it all winter ; preaching in log-cabins, in court-houses, in pris- 
ons, and even at public executions, though but rarely in churches ; for, 
including Strawbridge's log hut, there were as yet only three Methodist 
preaching houses in all Xorth xVmerica. 

Beyond all doubt this young Englishman, by his sagacious manage- 
ment of this very question, saved the cause of Methodism in America 
from early and inglorious death. The itinerant feature of its ministry 
was already disappearing, and if that had been lost the whole move- 
ment must have failed. Colonial Methodism and a settled ministry 
were entirely incompatible. Asbury saw this, and contended for a 
movable force of preacliei*s ; the only order that could find the scat- 
tered sheep in the wilderness, or keep pace with the restless pioneers. 
His theory was, that a minister should be rooted and grounded in love ; 
settled and established in sound doctrine ; but that in every thing else 
he should be as movable as a soldier on the land or a sailor on the sea. 

Rain^kin at^d Siiadfoed. 417 

No great captain lias been fond of long encampments. So witli the 
great leaders of Methodism. They prized the itinerancy, not only as 
an economy which afforded a variety of gifts to the different Societies, 
the most of which would have languished nnder the exclusive care of 
any one of the average preachers, but also a kind of military drill to 
the preachers themselves. It kept them energetic by keeping them in 
motion. For a time the length of a preacher's stay on one circuit was 
only six months ; it has now been lengthened to thirty-six ; but it is to 
be hoped that the Church will forbid further progress in that direction, 
except in cases of evident emergency ; for if the plan of permanent, 
or even indefinite, pastorates should ever largely prevail, then fare- 
well to the spirit, the unity, and the power of Methodism. 

Rankin and ^hadford. — In 1772 Captain Webb returned 
from England with another re-enforcement. He had made a very deep 
impression upon Mr. Wesley and the Conference at large ; though 
Charles Wesley thought him a fanatic because of his glowing descrip- 
tion of the American iield. Webb demanded two of their chief men ; 
Christopher Hopper and Joseph Benson ; but as these could not be 
spared, Thomas Rankin and George Shadford were aj)pointed in their 

Rankin was a Scotchman ; one of the few men of that nation who 
have found their way into the itinerant ranks ; and one of the com- 
manding men of the Methodist fraternity. He had been awakened by 
hearing the preaching of some of John Haime's Methodist trooj^ers 
who were converted and called out at the time of the great revival 
among the army in Flanders, in 1715, and who returned to preach a 
free salvation in Presbyterian Scotland. He had listened to the preach- 
ing of Whitefield, Wesley, and Mather ; had stood by the latter in 
showers of dirt, stones, rotten eggs, etc. : arguments with which the 
doctrines of that class of preachers were often controverted in those 
days : bu^t in spite of them he came into the enjoyment of saving grace, 
and in 1761 joined Wesley's band of itinerants ; rode a circuit with 
sturdy John IS^elson ; became a notable revival preacher ; showed the 
points of a strict disciplinarian, and after eleven years of hard work 
was appointed by Wesley in 1772 to the head of all the Methodist 
ministry in America. 

At tirst Asbury, who was thus superseded, submitted with good 


Illustrated Histoky of Methodism. 

grace, as a younger man to an elder, bnt presently there began to be 
e^•idences of a good deal of liuman nature in tbese " old-fashioned 
Methodists," of very much the same quality as that which sometimes 
causes friction with the modern machinery of the itinerant work. 
Rankin was disappointed in not finding more and larger Societies in 
America, as well as greatly scandalized at their want of form and order. 
AVJiether, on the other hand, the young bishop in embryo did not rel- 
isJi the same treatment from Rankin as he was inclined to give to his 


own subordinates, or whether the Scotchman's notions of the powers 
of an " assistant " exceeded his knowledge of the situation, does not at 
this distance plainly appear. But the unfavorable opinions of Asbury 
which Rankin wrote to Mr. Wesley, and which led to Asbury's recall 
to England, were afterward shown to be erroneous, and the young 
pioneer was reinstated in the favor of his chief, whose letter of recall 
was, fortunately, never received. Of Rankin Mr. Asbury makes this 
significant note : " Though he will not be admired as a preaclier, yet 
as a disciplinarian he will fill his place."" 

Geoege Shadfoed. 419 

George Sliaclfbrd was a man after Captain Webb's own heart. 
Like bim, Sbadford bad been a soldier ; like bim, be was " full of life 
and fire ; " a successful revival preacber ; a genial, not to say jovial, 
companion ; and capable of comprebending and revelling in tbe wild, 
wide, adventurous work wbicb opened before bim in tbe new world. 
If tbese two men, Webb and Sbadford, could bave been converted 
to tbe Continental Congress instead of bolding steadfast in tbeir loy- 
alty to tbeir king, tbey migbt bave been two princes in our Israel ; 
but tbis was liardly to be expected of two old red-coats ; and tbus on 
tbe breaking out of tbe war, wbicb soon followed, tbey were lost to 
America : and wbat was ber loss was by no means tbeir gain. 

During bis term of service in tbe Englisb militia Sbadford bad 
been deeply convicted of sin at a Metbodist meeting in Gainsborougb, 
of wbicb experience be says : " I was tried, cast, and condemned. I 
tlien made a vow to Almigbty God, tbat if be would spare me until 
tbat time twelvemontb, (at wbicb time I sbould be at liberty from tbe 
militia, and intended to return bome,) I would tben serve bim. So I 
resolved to venture anotber year in tbe old way, damned or saved. O 
wbat a mercy tbat I am not in bell ! tbat God did not take me at my 
word and cut me off immediately ! 

" In Kent tbe Lord arrested me again witb strong convictions, so 
tbat I was obliged to leave my comrades at noonday, and, running up 
into my cbamber, I tbrew myself upon my knees and wept bitterly. 
I tbougbt, ' Sin, cursed sin, will be my ruin ! ' I was ready to tear tbe 
very bair from my bead, tbinking I must perisb at last, and tbat my 
sins would sink me lower tban tbe grave. . . . Wberever I traveled, 
I found tbe Metbodists were spoken against by wicked and ungodly 
persons of every denomination ; and tbe more I looked into tbe 
Bible tbe more I was convinced tbat tbey were tbe people of God." 

On bis release from tbe militia service be was received at bome 
witb great rejoicings, and a ball was given in bis bonor by tbe young- 
people, witb wbom be was a great favorite ; but on bis way bome from 
tbe dance bis old convictions of sin again overwbelmed bim, and be 
found no rest till be resolved to perform bis vow. 

Of tbe vivid experiences of bis soul wben ligbt first broke in upon 
it, be gives tbe following account : — 

" My sins pressed me sore, and tbe band of tbe Lord was very beavy 

420 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

upon me. Tims I continued until Sunday, May 5, 1762 ; coming out 
of church, the famier that received the preachers told me a stranger 
was to preach at his house, I went to hear him, and was pleased and 
much affected. He gave notice that he would preach again in the 
evening. In the meantime I persuaded as many neighbors as I could 
to go. TTe had a full house, and several were greatly affected while 
he pubhshed his crucified Master. Toward the latter part of the ser- 
mon I trembled, I shook, I wept. I thought, ' I cannot stand it ; I 
shall fall down amid all this people.' O how gladly would I have been 
alone to weep ! for I was tempted with shame. I stood guilty and 
condemned. Like the publican in the temple, I cried out, (so that 
others heard,) being pierced to the heart with the sword of the Spirit, 
' God be merciful to me a sinner.' Xo sooner had I expressed these 
words than by the eye of faith (not with my bodily eyes) I saw Christ, 
my Advocate, at the right hand of God, making intercession for me. 
I believed he loved me, and gave himself for me, 

'' In an instant the Lord filled my soul with divine love, as quick 
as lightning. Immediately my eyes flowed with tears, and my heart 
with love. Tears of joy and son-ow ran down my cheeks. O what 
sweet distress was this ! I seemed as if I could weep my life away in 
tears of love. I sat down in a chair, for I could stand no longer, and 
these words ran through my mind twenty times over : ' Marvelous are 
thy works, and that my soul knoweth i-ight AvelL' As I walked home 
along the streets I seemed to be in paradise. "When I read my Bible, 
it seemed an entirely new book. When I meditated on God and Christ, 
angels or spirits — when I considered good or bad men, any or all the 
creatures that surrounded me — everything appeared new, and stood in 
a new relation to me. I was in Christ a new creature ; old things 
were done away, and all things become new. I lay down at night in 
peace, with a thankful heart, because the Lord hath redeemed me, and 
given me peace with God and all mankind, 

" But no sooner had I peace within than the devil and wicked men 
began to roar without, and pour forth floods of lies and scandal in 
order to drown the young child. And no marvel, for the devil had lost 
one of the main pillars of his kingdom in that parish ; and therefore 
he did not leave a stone unturned, that he might cast odium upon the 
work of God in that place. But none of these things moved me, for 

George Shadford. 421 

I was happy in my God ; clothed with the sun, and the moon under 
-my feet ; raised up, and made to sit in heavenly, holy, happy places 
in Christ Jesus. In a fortnight after I joined the Society." 

He soon began to exhort his friends, neighbors, and whosoever 
came in his way, to " flee from the wrath to come." After one of his 
exhortations he returned home and found his father reading in the 
Psalms of David. "I saw," he says, "the tears running down his 
cheeks ; yet there appeared a joy in his countenance. I said, ' Pray, 
father, what now ? What now ? What is the matter ? ' 

" He instantly answered, ' I have found Christ ; I have found 
Christ at last. Upward of sixty years I have lived without him in 
the world in sin and ignorance. I have been all the day idle and 
entered not into his vineyard till the eleventh hour. O how merciful 
was he to spare me, and hire me at last ! He hath set my soul at lib- 
erty. O praise the Lord ! Praise the Lord, O my soul ; and all that 
is within me, bless his holy name ! ' I left him rejoicing in God his 
Saviour, and retired to praise God for answering my prayers." 

His mother next found j^eace in believing; then his sister; and 
the little Society of the town grew vigorous by his humble labors, in a 
short time increasing from the original twelve to forty. 

Shadford now became a local preacher, and when Wesley met him, 
in 1768, he summoned him into the itinerant field. His first circuit 
was in Cornwall, the next in Kent, and the next in Norwich. In 1772, 
hearing Webb's appeal for America in the Leeds Conference, his spirit 
was stirred within him to go ; and Rankin, who was first appointed, 
chose him for his companion. Both of them, however, continued their 
English work till the spring of 1773, when, on Good Friday, April 9th, 
they set sail, and on the first of June anchored in Delaware Bay. 

Previous to their departure Wesley wrote Shadford a cheery and 
affectionate letter, saying, among other tilings : " Dear George, the 
time has arrived for you to embark for America. You must go down 
to Bristol, where you will meet with Thomas Pankin, Captain Webb, 
and his wife. I let you loose, George, on the great continent of 
America. Publish your message in the open face of the sun, and do 
all the good you can." 

When he reached the wharf where the ship lay he was reminded 
of a dream which he had six years before, and in which a written 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

message seemed sent liim from lieaven, requiring Mm "to go and 
preach the Gospel in a foreign land." " I thought," says he, " I was 
conveyed to the place where the ship lay, in which I was to embark 
in an instant. The wharf and ship appeared as plain to me as if I 
were awake. I replied, ' Lord, I am willing to go in thy name, but I 
am. afraid a people of different nations and languages will not under- 
stand me.' An answer to this was given : ' Fear not, for I am with 
thee.' I awoke, awfully impressed -with the presence of God, and 


was really full of divine love ; and a relisli of it remained upon my 
spirit for many days. I could not tell what tins meant, and revolved 
these things in my mind for a long time. But when I came to Peel, and 
saw the ship and M'liarf, then all came fresh to my mind." Shadford 
made full proof of his ministry during his stay, and, as will duly appear, 
was the last of the English preachers to abandon the American work. 

The First :fI«tliodist Coiirereiice in America Mas 
held in what there was of St. George's Church in Philadelphia— little 

First Methodist Conference in America. 423 

else but four rougli walls and a roof. It began on "Wednesday, the 
14tli of July, 1YY3, and continued two days. Rankin, of course, was 
the presiding- officer of the little assembly, which numbered ten men 
all told, including Messrs. Boardman and Pilmoor, who were just 
about to return to England. 

Asbury was detained on his JSTew York Circuit, and did not appear 
till the second day of the session. He was the tenth member, maldng 
the number the same as in "Wesley's first English Conference, held 
twenty-nine years before. The members of this first American Confer- 
ence were all Europeans. They were: Thomas Eankin, Richard 
Boardman, Joseph Pilmoor, Francis Asbury, Richard Wright, George 
Shadford, Thomas TVebb, John King, Abraham Whitworth, and 
Joseph Yearbry, who had accompanied Rankin and Shadford from 

Here are the minutes of this first Conference in full; the 
Wesleyan form of question and answer being f aitlifully retained : — 

Tbe following queries were proposed to every preacher: — 

1. Ought not the authority of Mr. Wesley and that Conference to extend to 
the preachers and people in America, as well as in Great Britain and Ireland? 

Ans. Yes. 

2. Ought not the doctrine and discipline of the Methodists, as contained in 
the Minutes, to be the sole rule of our conduct, who labor in the connection with 
Mr. Wesley, in America? 

Ans. Yes. 

3. If so, does it not follow, that if any jjreachers deviate from the Minutes,t 
we can have no fellowship with them till they change their conduct? 

Ans. Yes. 

The following rules were agreed to by all the preachers present: — 

1. Every preacher who acts in connection with Mr. Wesley and the brethren 
who labor in America is strictly to avoid administering the ordinances of baptism 
and the Lord's supper. 

2. All the peoi^le among whom we labor to be earnestly exhorted to attend 
the Church, and to receive the ordinances there; but in a particular manner to 
press the people in Maryland and Virginia to the observance of this minute. 

3. Kg person or persons to be admitted into our love-feasts oftener than twice 

* Stevens's " History of Methodism." 

f The Minutes of Mr. Wesley's Conferences in England were the only rules for Church 
government. The decisions recorded therein were held as law by the Methodists on both sides 
of the ocean. 

424 Illusteated Histoey of ]\Lethodism. 

or tlirice, unless they become members ; and none to be admitted to the Society 
meetings more than thrice. 

4. None of the preachers in America to reprint any of Mr. Wesley's books, 
■without his authority (when it can be gotten) and the consent of their l)rethren. 

5. Robert Williams to sell the books he has already printed, but to print no 
more, unless under the above restrictions. 

6. Every preacher wlio acts as an assistant, to send an account of the work 
once in six months to the general assistant. 

Ques. 1. How are the preacJiers stationed ? 

Ans. Xew York, Thomas Rankin. ) . . • r ,, 

■n, •, 1 , u- r^ oi ir 1 ^ to Change lu lour moHths. 

Philadelphia, George bhadford, ) ° 

Xew Jersey, John King, William Watters. 

Baltimore i Francis Asbury, Robert Strawbriiige, Abraham Whit- 
' \ worth, Joseph Yearbry. 

Norfolk, Richard Wright. 

Petersburgh, Robert Williams. 
Ques. 2. What numbers are there in the Society ? 

Ans. Xew York, 180; Philadelphia, 180; New Jersey, 200; [Maryland, 500; 
Virginia, 100; (preachers 10.) Total, 1,170. 

Alas I even at tlie first meeting of these " old-fasliioned Method- 
ists," there was a contention among them. The irrepressible Brother 
Strawbridge had violated Mr. ^Wesley's rule and taken upon himself 
to celebrate the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, and the 
first three questions and answers were doubtless aimed at him. They 
were, however, ineffectual, as will presently appear, and out of this 
very question arose one of the storms which shook early American 
Methodism to its center. 

Anbury *• Settles" the Soeieties in Baltimore. — At 
this first Conference Asbury was appointed to the Baltimore Circuit, 
which embraced all the Societies in Maryland, and included nearly 
one half of all the Methodists then in America. These Societies had 
been formed in a very unmethodical manner ; indeed, the whole body 
was thought, by Rankin and Asbury, to be sadly wanting in order 
and discipHne ; and one of the first cares of the new preacher was to 
orsranize the Societies into classes, one of men and one of women, on 
the true Wesleyan plan. 

It is worthy (jf note that Asbury had great difficulty in finding 
leaders for the classes of men, while there was no lack of female talent 
to lead the classes of women. 

Strawberry Alley M. E. Church. 


It was now needful to house tlie Baltimore Society, as it had out- 
grown the hospitable dwellings at which it had hitherto been enter- 
tained ; and another sail-loft, as in New York, was fixed upon, which 
place, at the corner of Mills and Block streets, was generously allowed 
them for their meetings free of charge. Though a sizable room, it 
was soon filled to overflowing ; and so wide was the spread and so 
rapid the progress of the good work, that it was determined to build 
two new houses of worship, about a mile and a half apart. 

Strawberry Alley. — The first of these to be commenced, 
though the last to be finished, as well as the last original Methodist 


structure now remaining in the city, was the church in Strawberry 
Alley. It was begun in November, 1773, under the over-sight of Mr. 
Asbury, assisted by Jesse Hollingsworth and others, but was somewhat 
delayed in its completion. It was a large, low brick building, with 
an old-fashioned tub pulpit, and a "sounding board" above it ; a con- 
trivance well adapted to assist the feeble reading of manuscript in a 
lofty, spacious edifice, but scarcely needed in a house about 40 by 60, 
with low, plain ceilings, wherein was to be given that powerful voicing 
of the Gospel which characterized the early Methodist ministry. The 

426 Illustrated Hlstoey of METHODisiL 

place was as plain as Methodism itself, its only ornament being a wide 
half circle of blue, painted on the wall behind the pulpit, on which, in 
letters of gold, appeared the words, THOU GOD SEEST ME. 

This structure, which has since been modified within and without, 
is now used as a society hall, in which colored lodges, divisions, 
councils, etc., hold their respective meetings. The narrow, dirty alley 
on which it stands is now called Dallas-street. 

liOvely liane. — This edifice, memorable as the place of the 
organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church at the " Christmas 
Conference " in 1784, was located and erected in 1774, by William 
Moore and Philip Eogers, two of the Baltimore converts under 
Asbury's ministry ; both of whom had been far from God, and one of 
them notoriously wicked. Such a transition from sin to holiness, 
followed by such entei-prising benevolence, was proof that God was 
with his itinerant gosj)ellers, and that the work of grace, wrought 
under their ministry was of a genuine and substantial sort. This 
building has disappeared, but its succession of sanctity has been kept 
up, first by the old Light-street Chm-ch, and its famous parsonage, (of 
which more in its place,) and afterward by the present First Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, on Charles-street. Even the lovely name of 
the lane has vanished, and it is now called German-street. 

The Last Hissiouaries from England appointed by 
Mr. Wesley, were James Dempster and Eichard Rodda. They were 
accompanied by "William Glendenning, who came as a volunteer. 
Dempster was a Scotchman of good education and a man of power. 
He was appointed to Kew York, in 1775 ; but ill health, the excite- 
ments of the coming war, a latent attachment to the Church of 
Scotland, and last, but not least, matrimony, all combined to make his 
position an unhappy one, and after only about a year of service in the 
American work, added to his ten years of itinerancy in England, he 
took his departure to the Presb}i;erians ; taking with him also, by 
special declaration, all his Methodist theology, of which he made good 
use among that people until his death, in 1S04. 

Eodda, like Wesley, labored under the impression that loyalty to 
King George was an essential part of an Englishman's religion. 
The rebellious spirit of the colonists aroused his wrath, and in his 
efforts to withstand the manifest destiny of America he was accused 

Death of George Whitefield. 4^7 

of circulati-ng over liis district, in Delaware, the Rojal Proclamation 
against the rebels ; on which account he was obliged to fly for his life. 
He took refuge on board a British man-of-war, which had been sent 
out to chastise these undutiful subjects ; and at length was carried to 

Glendenning followed the example of Dempster, and left the de- 
nomination ; Pilmoor and Boardman had departed in 1772 ; and now, 
with the difficulties of their situation daily increasing, which in a large 
measure were the results of the indiscretions of Rodda and Rankin, 
the country became too hot for the English Methodists ; and, following 
the example of their neighbors, the Episcopal clergy, they every one, 
with the exception of Asbury, forsook the little Church in the wilder- 
ness and returned to the mother country. 

Oeorg^e Whitefield : Death of* in America in 1770. 
— The thirteenth and last voyage of this tireless traveler and match- 
less master of the art of preaching, was in the autumn of 1769 ; the 
fiame gale driving him across the ocean which nearly wrecked the 
first Wesleyan missionaries, Boardman and Pilmoor, in the Delaware 
Bay. For more than thirty years he had carried two great countries 
in his heart, crossing the sea between them again and again at 
the call of his Savannah Orphanage on the one side, and of his 
London congregation at the Tottenham Court Road Tabernacle, on 
the other. 

When in England he must needs range about with the wildest free- 
dom, preaching incessantly to vast congregations, usually in the open 
•air ; enduring persecution with cheerfulness ; emerging from a mob 
with a hallelujah ! swaying the multitudes with his eloquence, and 
leaving them to make the most of it when he was gone. Unlike his 
iriend, Wesley, he possessed no genius for organization, and had it not 
been for the munificence and sagacity of the Countess of Hunting- 
don, the lady "Bishop of Calvinistic Methodism," there would have 
remained as httle in the three kingdoms as in the thirteen colonies 
to remind them that such a man as Whitefield ever lived. Within a 
short distance of Wesley's Old Foundry stood Whitefield's Tabernacle, 
which, in his new-found zeal for the doctrine of predestination, he 
caused to be erected as a fortress from which, as a base of operations, 
he might oppose the spread of the Arminian theology, Alas ! that so 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

^t::::":!^'^' '^™ " ---' '- -^ --«*" » -•• 

He who was the &st to learn the blessed mystery of 


A'^mr- (^rp^^t^ y^^t^rz^'' 

Ch„ Che! """' ""* "■"■" "^ ^''*-« P*"- ™ «'- State 

Churches and g,ve it to the multitudes under the open sky was at 

length so fettered by theories, and so shut in from LlowsW, with 

Whitefield's Slaves. 42i> 

the Christian communions in Great Britain, that, although attended 
by admiring mukitudes, he remained almost alone. It was not possi- 
ble that a great religious community should, at that late day, grow up 
in the shadow of the Genevan theology. Thus while the Wesleyan 
movement spread and flourished, the leader of Calvinistic Methodism,. 
after thirty years of labor and controversy, had but a very diminutive 
body of adherents. 

But in America Whitefield's star shone pre-eminent. His theology 
was then the doctrine of l^ew England ; he was cordially admired and 
loved by the Orthodox, and as cordially hated by the Heterodox, all the 
way from Savannah to Portland. Until his last visit there were no 
"Wesleyans on all the continent to vex him ; and thus again and again 
he swept along the shores of the 'New World on wave after wave of 
power and glory. But as in England, so in America, he built the 
most of his castles in the air. His art was like that of the frost-work 
on a window pane or the coloring in the clouds of sunset skies. 

What then? Does not God emjDloy himself in painting such 
pictures and tracing such lines as well as in hardening the rocks and 
piling up mountains ? Why, then, shall not this angel of eloquence 
flying through the midst of heaven be hailed as a messenger of the Lord,, 
even as if his thoughts had taken on the solid forms of history, and 
his work had been the center around which had crystallized ten 
thousand Churches with their milhons of worshiping souls ? 

Whitefield's Slaves. — It is not according to the economy of 
nature or grace to bestow all gifts in one direction ; and Whitefleld was 
no exception to this rule : but who would expect to find this English- 
man, this pattern of self-forgetful heroism, this father of orphans, this 
brother of prisoners and paupers, an open advocate of negro slavery, 
and an actual owner of property in the form of men, women, and 
children ? But such is plainly the case ! 

In the year 1764 Whitefield informed the Council of Georgia that 
he had already expended £12,000 upon his Orphan House ; that he 
was now anxious to attach to it a college, to which the respectable 
inhabitants of Georgia, Yirginia, and the West Indies might send their 
sons to be educated ; that, in order to accomplish his purpose, he was 
prepared to lay out a considerable sum of money " in jpurcJiasing a 
large number of negroes " for the cultivation of the lands, and for the 

430 Illustrated History of Methodis^l 

^' future support of a president, professors, and tutors ; " and that lie 
now asked the Council to grant liim, in trust, for the purpose afore- 
said, t^yo thousand acres of land on the north fork of Turtle Eiver. 
The Council acceded to his request at once. Whitefield then memorial- 
ized the King to grant a charter for the founding of the college ; stat- 
ing, that if this were done he was " ready to give up his present trust, 
and make a free gift of all lands, negroes, goods, and chattels which 
he now possessed in Georgia for the support of the proposed institu- 
tion, to be called by the name of Bethesda College, in Georgia." A 
long official correspondence followed. The Government were not 
unwilling to grant a charter, but they insisted that the president of 
the college should be a minister of the Church of England, and that 
there should be a daily use of the Church liturgy. These conditions 
he declined; and hence the charter was refused. In place of the 
" college," therefore, Whitefield added to his Georgia Orphan House 
a pubhc academy, for whose accommodation he enlarged the structure 
by two wings, each one hundred and fifty feet in length ; obtained a 
grant of 3,800 acres of land from the Georgia Council, and purchased 
seventy-five negroes to cultivate it. 

The cost of this improvement, (?) including the price of the slaves, 
was £15,404 25. 5^. / of which £4,471 Os. Q\d. was collected in En- 
gland, and £3,229 3*. Z\d. was set down as " the Eev, Mr. Wliitefield's 
benefactions, being the sums expended more than received." The 
whole number of orphans maintained and educated in this institution 
■during the thirty years of its existence was 183; 140 boys and 43 
ffirls, besides a considerable number of other children who received 
occasional instruction. At the date above mentioned, February, 1770, 
there were 15 boys and 1 girl in the establishment, and a working 
force of 50 negro slaves. 

In his will Whitefield transferied the whole of this property, 
slaves and all, in trust, to his noble patroness Lady Huntingdon, who 
found no small difficulty in managing such a bequest ; but about three 
years after the death of its founder the main building was struck by 
lightning and burned, to the great relief of the Countess ; who wrote 
concerning the event, "I could never wish it for one moment to be 
•otherwise, believing the Lord removed it out of our way." 

That the slavery which existed on Whitefield's charity plantation 

Whitefield's Slaves. 431 

•was not the 'result of a stress of affairs brought on by the increase of 
its land grants and the cost of enlarging its halls, appears from a letter 
written by him nearly twenty years before, in which he gives thanks to 
Ood that, after long prohibition by the terms of its charter, the Colony 
of Georgia is at last permitted to enjoy the benefits of negro slavery. 

The following is the letter in full, as reproduced by Tyerman, 
from the second volume of Whitefield's Works : — 

"Bristol, March 22, 1731. 
"Eev. and very Dear Sir: — Thanks be to God, that the time for favoring 
the Colony of Georgia seems to be come. Now is the season for us to exert our 
utmost for the good of the poor Ethiopians. We are told that even they are 
soon to stretcli out their hands to God; and who knows but their being settled in 
Georgia may he overruled for this great end ? As for the lawfulness of keeping 
slaves I have no doubt, since I hear of some that were bought with Abraham's 
money, and some that were born in his house. I also cannot help thinking that 
some of those servants mentioned by the apostles in their epistles were, or had 
been, slaves. It is plain that the Gibeonites were doomed to perpetual slavery; 
and, though liberty is a sweet thing to such as are born free, yet to those who 
never knew the sweets of it, slavery, perhaps, may not be so ii-ksome. However 
this be, it is plain to a demonstration, that hot countries cannot be cultivated 
without negroes. What a flourishing country might Georgia have been had 
the use of them been permitted years ago ! How many white people have been 
•destroyed for Avant of them, and how many thousands of pounds spent to no 
purpose at all I Though it is true that they are brought iu a wrong way from 
their own country, and it is a trade not to be approved of, yet as it will be car- 
ried on whether we will or not, I should think myself highly favored if I could 
purchase a good number of them in order to make their lives comfortable, and 
lay a foundation for breeding up their jjosterity in the nurture and admonition 
■of the Lord. I had no hand in bringing them into Georgia, though my judgment 
was for it, and I was strongly importuned thereto ; yet, I would not have a 
negro upon my plantation till the use of them was publicly allowed by the 
colony. Now this is done, let us diligently improve the present opportunity for 
tlieir instruction. It rejoiced my soul to hear that one of my poor negroes in 
Carolina was made a brother iu Christ. How know we but we may have many 
■such instances in Georgia? I trust many of them will be brought to Jesus, and 
this consideration, as to us, swallows up all temporal inconvenience whatsoever. 

"I am, etc., 

"'George Whitefield." 

Contrasted with Mr. Wesley's famous definition of slavery as the 
■" sum of all villainies," this letter of his old pupil in the Holy Club is 

432 Illustrated History of Methodis^f. 

somewhat startling, and how to account for it is a question for tlie 
philosophers. How much of this wide divergence in the views of 
these two excellent men on this particular subject was the result of 
differences in their mental constitutions, how much was the result of 
surrounding circumstances, and how much of it came of their respect- 
ive views of the divine government, might be as prolital)le topics for 
discussion as many others to which profound metaphysicians have 
devoted their time. It surely could be no very diihcult thing for a 
man to persuade liimseK that God, for his sovereign pleasure, had 
appointed some small portion of the human race to endure a brief 
hfetime of slavery, who had already come to believe that, for the same 
reason, he had predestined the majority of the race to the pains of 
eternal hell. Profitable iniquity is never at a loss for logic : it can 
even frame a theology to suit its purpose. On the other hand, there 
have been multitudes of believers in the freest idea of grace who 
thought it was not harm to make slaves of their African brethren 
and sisters. 

Did not Whitetield hold his slaves avowedh' for the glory of God 
as well as for their own highest good ? 

Alas! then, for the reliability of the human conscience as an 
ultimate authority in ethics and religion. 

The Quadruple Allianee. — Before AYhitefield's last voyage 
across the Atlantic he had re-established friendly relations with his old 
friends, the "Wesleys ; and the doctrinal zeal of Lady Huntingdon had 
so far cooled down, that, after having expelled every body from her 
Trevecca College who was guilty of believing in Wesleyau theology, 
she at length admitted Mr. Wesley himself to the pulj)its of her chap- 
els, and thus a cordial j^eaee was reached after years of useless war. 
This reunion of old friends, called by Charles Wesley '" the Quadruple 
Alliance," was made in the year ITOT, and lasted till Whitetield's death, 
after which the holy war was resumed by Mr. Whiteiield's friends in 
the interest of the doctrines he represented with even more savageness- 
than before. 

During this cessation of hostilities it was arranged between the two- 
great Methodistic leaders that he who survived the other should preach 
his funeral sermon ; and as a codicil to his last will and testament 
Whitefield inserted the following bequest : — 

The Quadkuple Alliance. 433 

I also leave a mourning ring to my honored and dear friends and disinterested 
fellow-laborers, the Rev. Messrs. John and Charles Wesley, in token of my indis- 
soluble union with them in heart and Christian affection, notwithstanding our 
diflferences in judgment about some particular points of doctrine. Grace be with 
all them, of whatever denomination, that love our Lord Jesus, our common Lord, 
in sincerity. 

As further proof of his fraternal love he told his congregation at 
the Tottenham Court Road Chapel that he desired to be buried therein, 
and that he wished the Wesley brothers might lie beside him. " We 
will," said he, " all lie together. You refuse them entrance here while 
living : they can do you no harm when they are dead." Whitefield's 
wish was not realized ; but he lived long enough to welcome John 
Wesley to his pulpit, over which, for various reasons, chief of which 
was his frequent and extended absence, he had very little control. 

For many years Whitefield's health had been feeble, but he per- 
sisted in preaching, in which he took the most intense delight. His 
spirits were lively, often jubilant, in spite of increasing infirmities ; and 
his letters abound with expressions of joy and praise. 

His last sermon was preached at Exeter, IST. H., the easternmost 
point of his tour in the autumn of 1Y70. 

" You are more fit to go to bed than to preach," said one of his 
iriends who noticed his extreme exhaustion. 

" True, sir," replied Whitefield. Then, clasping his hands, he 
looked up to heaven, and added : " Lord Jesus, I am weary in thy 
work, but not of it." 

The subject of this discourse, which was two hours in length — the 
mighty effort of a dying man — was " Faith and Works." He labored 
heavily at first, but at length his soul roused up the last forces of his 
body, and his voice rang out with its old power. " Works ! works ! " 
■cried he, " a man get to heaven by works ! I would as soon think of 
•climbing to the moon on a rope of sand." 

From Exeter he hastened southward to I^ewburyport, Mass., faint- 
ing with exhaustion and struggling with the asthma. His coming 
liaving been noised abroad, a crowd gathered in front of the parsonage 
and pressed into its hall, eager to hear even a word from the most 
eloquent preacher on earth ; but he was too ill to preach, and after a 
light supper, took his candle to go to his bed-chamber. The sight of 


Illustrated History of Methodism, 

the eager tlirong moved him, and he stopped on the staii-s, holding the 
candle in his hand, and spoke to them till the candle burned out in its 

The next morning God had taken him. His death occurred at six 
o'clock on Sunday morning, September 30, 1770, in the fiftj-fifth year 
of his age. He died of asthma, and of doing the -work of two or 
three men for a period of nearly thirty years. 

In accordance with his request a tomb was made for him under- 


neath the pulpit of the church at Xewbur^-port, and on the following 
Tuesday loWng hands laid his mortal part therein, in the presence of 
weeping thousands who, though he was of another country, mourned 
him not as a stranger, but as a brother of their own blood. 

In Georgia his funeral was celebrated with the utmost love and 
reverence. In his London Tabernacle there were most impressive 

The Quadruple Alliance. 435 

memorial services, cliief among whicli was the funeral sermon, by 
"Wesley, from the text, " Let me die the death of the righteous, and let 
my last end be hke his." It was in this sermon, as already mentioned, 
in Part I of this volume, that Wesley gave such mortal ofiense to 
Toplady and Rowland Hill. 

Perhaps no better summing up of the character and career of this 
marvelous man can be given than in the words by which another great 
evangehst once described himseK : " I am the voice of one crying in 
the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord." "Wanting those 
more substantial qualities of mind without which a man may not be a 
great leader, he possessed those special gifts which fitted him to be a 
John the Baptist over again ; just such a man as it is easy to imagine 
John the Baptist would have been if he had appeared seventeen hun- 
dred years later. Whitefield was, indeed, a voice. His very life was to 
speak. It was his meat and drink to preach the gospel of regeneration 
through faith in the Son of God, and for this particular work God 
endowed him as he has rarely ever endowed a man in ancient or mod- 
ern times. In learning he did not particularly excel ; in business he 
would have been a failure if that business had been any thing else than 
building a house for orphans in a foreign country, which furnished 
him a basis for continual voicing to vast multitudes of people the duty 
of practical benevolence, and a reason for ranging over land and sea, 
preaching to all England and America. The Orphan House has jDassed 
awayj all except a wing wliich escaped the fire and is now used by a 
little congregation for a German preaching-house ; but its real mission 
was not to give a home to a few neglected childi'en; it was to call 
George Whitefield back and forth between the two chief portions of 
the English-speaking world. 

In theology he was not a master. There was one doctrine, how- 
ever, that he understood, namely, the doctrine of regeneration; and 
this he knew by that best of all means of knowledge, his experience. 
To him the new birth was the point of all preaching, the central truth 
of all religion. In this appears the divinity of his mission. It is 
hardly conceivable that God should so gloriously endow a man to 
preach any other doctrine. 

Kow that the voice is passed there remains almost nothing of all 
his thinking or his doing. ]^o printed pages hold the substance of his 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

wonderful discourses, for their substance was too subtle to be captured 
1)7 the crude processes of writing or printing, and the reader turns 
awav from the meager results of their efforts which remain with a sigh 
of disappointment and surprise ; no system of benevolence has survived 
him to prove how devotedly he loved every body except himself ; no 
theory of preaching put forth by this master of pulpit rhetoric and 
elocution reveals the mystery of his art ; no treatise of doctrine sets 
forth the distinctive 
faith of him who be- 
lieved so mightily ; no 
record shows again the 
visions of him who had 
the eye of a seer, and 
only a single Church, 
and the ruins of an or- 
phan school, scorched 
with fire and deserted 
by its occupation, helps 
to account for what he 
<iid with all the money 
lie begged and gave 
away. He was ''a voice," 
and his history is an 
echo ; yet doubtless in 
the upper sky, and on 
the celestial air, it still 
carries with it all the 
music of its sweet hu- 
manity, and all the res- 
onance of its God-given 





¥ESLEY'S " Calm Address " to the people 
of the British Colonies in ISTorth Amer- 
ica, which, as has been shown, caused him so much trouble at home, 
was also a great affliction to his friends abroad. Some copies of it 
found their way into the hands of prominent revolutionists, and 
thenceforth until near the close of the war a Methodist preacher was 
an object of suspicion ; a man liable to be robbed without protection, 
and imprisoned without even a form of justice. 

In view of the increasing troubles of his brethren in America, of 


Illustrated History of Methodis^l 

wliicli liis own jiolitical course was one cliief occasion, Mr. "Wesley 
addressed tliem tlie following fatherly advice, nnder date of London, 
!Marcli 1, 1775 : — 

' '• ^Iy Deab Brethren: — Yon -n-cre never in your lives in so critical a situation as 
y-ou are at tliis time. It is your jiart to be peace-makers: to be loving and tender 
'tpall; but to addict yotirselves to no j^iiity. In spite of all solicitations, of 
rough or smooth words, say aot one word against one or the other side. Keep 
yourselves pure; do all you can to help and soften all; but beware how you 
adopt another's jar. 




"See that you act in full union with each other: this is of the utmost conse- 
quence. Not only let there be no bitterness or anger, but no shyness or coldness 
between you. Mark all those that would set one against the other. Some sucli will 
never be wanting. But give them no countenance; rather ferret them out, and 
<lrag them into open day."' 

But it was too late to repair the mischief he had done. The name 
"Methodist" began to have a Toryish flavor, especially if the bearer 
•of it were an Englishman ; and even the native preachers, into whose 

William Watteks. 439 


hands tlie work was soon to fall, were persecuted on account of their 
alleged want of devotion to tlie cause of the Revolution. 

William W^atters, the first American itinerant preacher, 
was born in Baltimore County, Maryland, October 16th, 1751. He 
possessed what may be called the religious temperament, and was 
thought to be a Christian from his youth ; but at the age of twenty he 
heard Strawbridge, Williams, and King, who all j)reaclied the doctrine 
that the Saviour preached to Nicodemus, but which, lie says, "was all 
a mystery to him." At length, after a season of deep conviction, he 
was clearly brought into a state of regeneration, and presently, through 
the reading of one of Mr. Wesley's sermons on sanctification, he 
became a possessor and advocate of that experience also. Thus the 
race of native American Methodist preachers begins with an examj^le 
of the divine power of those great doctrines of the Gospel the preach- 
ing whereof has ever been attended with the awakening of sinners, the 
pardon of penitents, the regeneration of believers, and the perfecting 
in love of consecrated souls. 

In 1772, being then just come of age, Watters was "called out," 
as the phrase was, by Robert Williams, who took him with him on his 
jSTorfolk Circuit, to learn how to preach by preaching, just as people 
learn to do other things by doing them. The departure of this young 
recruit for the itinerant ministry was a very solemn and affecting 
event. His friends hung about him and we23t over him as if he had 
been a volunteer leaving home to join the army in active service, or, 
later on, a foreign missionary leaving his native country to live and 
labor and die in a heathen land. 

Whoever is inclined to smile at the sorrow and mourning w^ith 
which this young man, the first in America, was sent forth to be a 
Methodist itinerant, let him remember that to take upon himself that 
office in those days implied the deliberate sacrifice of all things for 
Christ's sake and the Gospel's. To enter this ministry was to face the 
certainty of poverty, privation, dangers, ridicule, and oj)position, with 
a good prospect of mob violence and martyrdom ; and in this view of 
the subject the act of this young man in leading what was to be the 
lono; column of American itinerants was one of the most heroic thino-s 
ever done in this country. No wonder, then, that there was sorrow in the 
old home when this first young minister set forth on this strange career. 


The ultimate test of all things is, whether or not they fulfill their 
pui-pose. Judged by any other te&t than this, the sending out of a 
raw young farmer to organize and preside over a circuit, after only a 
few weeks of training under the senior preacher, would be pronounced 
a piece of folly ; but TVatters could preach in such a manner as to bring 
sinners to Christ, and that, in those days, was understood to be suf- 
ficient. Poarly furnished in every thing else which is supposed to 
constitute a fitness far the holy oflice, God seemed to be well enough 
pleased to use liim for some glorious soul-saving work ; and if God 
was satisfied who has any right to complain ? 

Philip Clatcli, another native itinerant, and one of the most 
admirable characters in earlv Methodist histoi'^', was born near George- 
town,. Maryland, ITol, and was "called out" by Eankin in the same 
year with TTatters — 1772 — to travel a circuit which embraced the 
whole State of Xew Jersey. This was rather a heavy charge for an 
untutored youth of twenty-one ; but Gatch had " experienced rehgion "' 
and knew what it was ; he could read the Bible, and pray his way into 
it far enough to find the pith and power of it : and the pentecostal 
Spirit gave him a •" tongue." Thus he was able for the space of two 
yeai-s, in spite of much hostility, to work this great plantation, and to 
gather scane. harvests of souls ; after which initiation and training still 
greater things- were possible to him. 

Beiijaiuin Abbott. — But the greatest marvel of all was Ben- 
jamin . Abbott, a Jursey farmer, who at the age of forty was trans- 
formed from a drinking, fighting, swearing; gambling sinner — a leadei' 
in all sorts of wickedness and a terror in the community — into a man 
of God, it preacher of righteousness, whose success still stands une 
qualed in all the religious history of America. Xot even Whitefield 
could attract such vast congregations ; while the spiritual power he 
wielded was absolutely incredible to that slow faith wliicli refuses to 
believe in an effect without an adequate visible cause, whether it be 
in mechanics or religion, nature or grace. 

In the days of his impenitence he had often attended divine service 
witli his wife, who was a member of the Presbyterian Church : yet he 
says : " I had never heard the nature of conviction or conversion. It 
a;dark time respecting religion, and little or nothing was ever said about 
expti-^mental religion; and to my knowledge. I never ha^ li«ar.d either. 

Benjami]^ Abbott, 441 

man or woman say that tliej liad the pardoning love of -God in tlieir 
souls, or knew their sins were forgiven." 

But at length one of the itinerants visited his neighborhood, and 
Abbott, who was now often tormented with a sense of his sins and his 
danger, went to find out what help there might be for him in this 
new form of religion. Of his exercises of mind on this occasion ho 
gives the following account : — 

" The word reached my heart in such a manner that it shook every 
joint in my body ; teai*s flowed in abundance, and I cried out for 
mercy, of which the people took notice, and many were melted into 
tears. When the sermon was over the people flocked around the 
preacher and began to dispute with him about principles of relig- 
ion. I said that there never was such preaching as this ; but the peo- 
ple said, ' Abbott is going mad.' 

" Satan suggested to me that my day of grace was over ; therefore 
I might pray and cry, but he was, sure of me at last. 

" In passing through a lonely wood at night, I was tempted to com- 
mit suicide; but while looking for a suitable place for the deed, I 
was deterred by an inward voice, which said, ' This torment is nothing 
compared to hell.' " This was logic too clear to be resisted. "I forth- 
with mounted my wagon, and believing the temj)ter to be immediately 
behind me, drove home under the greatest anxiety imaginable, with 
my hair rising on my head. My dreams that night were appalling ; 
the next day, seeking relief in the labors of the field, my troubled 
heart beat so loud that I could hear the strokes. I threw down 
my scythe and stood weeping for my sins. I believe I could not 
have continued in the body had not God moderated the pain and 
anxiety I was in, but must have expired before the going down of 
the sun." Under this terrible stress of conviction he fell upon his 
knees in the field, and, for the first time in his life, prayed aloud. 

Hastening the same day to a Methodist meeting, he says : — 

" I went in, sat down, and took my little son upon my knee. The 
preacher began soon after. His word was attended with such power 
that it ran through me from head to foot ; I shook and trembled like 
Belshazzar, and felt that I should cry out if I did not leave the house, 
which I determined to do that I might not expose myself among the 
oeople ; but when I attempted to put my little son down and rise to 

4:^:2 Illustrated History of Methodis3l 

go, I found that my strengtli had failed me, and the nse of my hmbs 
was so far gone tliat I was utterly unable to rise. Immediately I 
cried aloud, '■Save, Lord, or I j>erish ! ' But before the preacher con- 
cluded I refrained and wij)ed my eyes ; my heart gave way to shame, 
and I was tempted to wish I was dead or could die, as I had so ex- 
posed myseK that my neighbors and acquaintance would laugh at and 
despise me. When meeting was over I thought to speak to the 
preacher, but such a crowd got round him, disputing points of doc- 
trine, that I could not conveniently get an opportunity. Tliat even- 
ing I set up family prayer, it being the first time I ever had attempted 
to pray in my family. !My wife, being a strict Presbyterian, was a 
praying woman, and much pleased with having family j)rayer, so that 
she proved a great help to me and endeavored to encourage me in my 
duty; although, dear creature, at that time she knew nothing of 
experimental religion." 

The next day, accompanied by his wife, Abbott went more than ten 
miles to a Methodist assembly, appealed to the minister for counsel and 
comfort, and asked to be baptized, hoping it would relieve his distress ; 
for, as yet, he had no idea of justification by faith. 

" Are you a Quaker ? " asked the preacher. 

"Xo," he replied, "I am nothing but a poor, wretched, condemned 
sinner," and burst into tears. 

" Then you are the very man Christ died for," replied the preacher. 
" It is the lost that Christ came to seek, and the greatest of sinners 
that he came to save." 

That night, the 11th of October, 1772 — he is minute in sucli 
memorable dates — he awoke from terrible dreams and saw, as in a 
vision, the Lord Jesus, with extended arms, saying, " I died for you." 
He wept and adored God with a joyful heart. " At that moment," 
he continues, "the Scriptures were wonderfully opened to my under- 
standing. My heart felt as light as a bird, being relieved of that load 
of guilt which before had bowed down my spirits, and my body felt 
as active as when I was eighteen, so that the outward and inward man 
were both animated." Upon this he rose from his bed, called up the 
family, expounded the Scriptures and jirayed, and then set oli to 
spend the day in teUing his neighbors what God had done for him. 

While he was relating liis exj)erience to liis neighbors, and ex- 

BENJAjiiiS" Abbott, 443 

horting tliem to flee from the wrath to come, some laughed, others 
cried, and some thought he had gone distracted. Before night a re- 
port was spread all through the neighborhood that he was raving 
mad. A neighboring clergyman tried laboriously to deliver him from 
the " strong delusions of the devil ; " whereat Abbott was a good deal 
perplexed. "It was suggested to my mind," he says, "he may be 
right. But I went a little out of the road, and kneeled down and 
prayed to God if I was deceived to undeceive me ; and the Lord said 
to me, ' Why do you doubt ? Is not Christ all-sufficient ? is he not 
able ? Have you not felt his blood ap]3lied ? ' I then sprang ujDon 
my feet and cried out, 'J^ot all the devils in heU shall make me 
doubt ; ' for I knew that I was converted. At that instant I was filled 
with unspeakable raptures of joy." 

Was not this also " a brand plucked from the burning ? " 
Abbott now devoted himself to the study of the Bible, and began 
to exhort all with whom he had any intercourse. The Scriptures were 
wonderfully opened to him. In his sleep texts occurred to his mind, 
with divisions and applications, and he woke up ]3reaching from them. 
His good wife checked him, saying, " You are always preachino- : " 
" however," he adds, " it caused her to ponder these things in her 
heart. I saw that if ever I should win her to Christ it must be by 
love and a close walk with God ; for I observed that she watched me 
closely." Soon after she was happily converted under a sermon by 
Philip Gatch, and when Abbott returned home he met her at the door 
with tears of joy in her eyes. " We embraced each other," he says, 
" and she cried out, ' Now I know what you told me is true, for the 
Lord hath pardoned my sins.' We had a blessed meeting ; it was the 
happiest day we had ever seen together. ' ]N"ow,' said she, ' I am willino- 
to be a Methodist too ; ' from that time we went on, hand and hand, 
helping and building each other up in the Lord. These were the be- 
ginning of days to us. Our children also began to yield obedience to 
the Lord, and in the course of about three months after my wife's 
conversion we had six children converted to God." 

From " exhorting " he at last began to preach ; his first sermon 
being over the coffin of a neighbor. His word was now uniformly 
" with power ; " under which the sturdiest sinners trembled, or escaped 
in alarm. He was a man of great natural courage, and though there 

444 Illustrated History of METiioDis^r. 

was an liabitual tenderness and humility in liis manners, often reveal- 
ing itself in tears, yet woe to the man who dared in his presence to 
treat rehgion with ridicule or irreverence. Of him it might be said, 
as was said of certain other ministers of Christ : " Now when they saw 
the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were nn- 
learned and ignorant men, they marveled ; and they took knowledge 
of them, that they had been with Jesus." 

The memoirs of Abbott abound with instances of tlie immediate 
manifestation of divine power, which, since the day of Pentecost, is 
to be accounted as a part of the Gospel scheme, and may be looked for 
in connection with its faithful presentation. One of the circuits which 
he organized was in a desperate neighborhood called Hell Xeck ; of 
which he writes : " One sinner there said he had heard Abbott swear, 
and had seen him fight, and now would go and hear him preach. The 
word reached his heart, and he soon after became a convert to the 
Lord. After meeting he invited me home with him, and several 
others invited me to preach at their houses, so that I got preaching 
places all through the neighborhood, and a considei-able revival of 
religion took place, although it had been so noted for wickedness." 

Such a bold invasion of the strongholds of Satan was likely to be 
resented by that great adversary of souls, and various and desperate 
were the efforts made by his servants to frighten or defeat this sturdy 
evangehst. At Deerfield he heard of a gang of ruffiaus who had 
threatened to tar and feather any Methodist preacher who should vent- 
ure to open his mouth in their settlement ; but Deerfield was in the 
line of his duty, and thither he went to preach. " At first," says he, 
" 1 thought I would return. Consulting with flesh and blood, I con- 
cluded that it would be a disagreeable thing to have my clothes sj^oiled, 
and my hair all matted together with tar ; but I called to mind the 
sufferings of my Lord, and immediately resolved to go and preach, if 
I had to die for it. 

" I found a large congregation filling the house and crowding the 
neighboring premises. I went in among them and gave out a hymn, 
but no one sung. I then sung four lines myself, while every joint in my 
body trembled. I said, ' Let us pray,' and before prayer was over the 
power of God fell on me in such a manner that it instantly removed 
from me the fear of man, and some cried out. I arose, took my text. 

Benjamin Abeott. 445 

and preached with great liberty. Before the meeting was over I saw 
many tears drop from tlieir eyes, and the head of the mob said that 
he had never heard such preaching since Robert Williams went 
away ; so I came off clear. Glory be to God, who stood by me in 
this trying hour ! " 

On one occasion he was called to see a Quaker woman who had 
been awakened under one of his sermons, and was in an awful agon^^ 
of conviction. "When he arrived she w^as sitting with both hands 
clenched in her hair, and crying out " Lord, have mercy on me ! Save, 
Lord, or I perish ! " 

Abbott told her to pray in faith ; look to Jesus ; lay hold of the 
promises, and God would have mercy on her. 

" But I cannot pray," said the distracted woman. 

" You do pray very well," said Abbott. " Go on." 

" She cannot pray in English," said a pious friend who was present. 

" Let her pray in Dutch, then. God understands Dutch as well as 
English," was Abbott's reply. 

A hymn was now sung, and wlien it was over, Abbott says, " I felt 
such faith, that I told them the Lord would deliver her; and said. 
Let us pray. In a few minutes she clapped her hands together and 
cried ' My Lord, my God, and my Father ! ' Her soul was immedi- 
ately set at liberty, and she sprang up, rejoicing, and giving glory to 
God. Her husband burst into a flood of tears. I exhorted him to 
look to God, and he ^^•ould find mercy. In about six weeks after he 
was safely converted." 

Among the converts in these his early labors was a bigoted Papist, 
who had determined to murder his wife for going to the Methodist 
meeting, but somehow was induced to go himself ; another was a wild, 
drunken school-master, whom Abbott prayed out of the deliritim tre- 
mens, into the kingdom of God. A band of Indians who once strayed 
into his congregation were deeply wrought upon by the Holy Sjjirit, 
and at the close of the sermon crowded about him, eagerly desiring 
him to show them how to be saved. For years this Jersey farmer was 
God's instrument in working a constant succession of gracious mira- 
cles. For want of houses to preach in, he often held his meetings in 
groves, where thousands upon thousands assembled to hear him ; and 
as he preached in " God's first temples," with a Jersey wagon for 

44G Illustrated History of Methodism. 

a pulpit, multitudes of sinners were overwlielmed bv the power of 
the word, many of whom wore s;peedily and joyfully converted. 

CrOUg-li, of Perry Hsall. — If any one is saying, These were 
all common, ignorant people, and, therefore, these excitements are 
natural enough, let him read this account of the conversion of another 
style of man, taken from the pages of Stevens's admirable " History 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church : " — 

"Asbury's usefulness in the Baltimore Circuit at this time had 
permanently important results. He gathered into the young Societies 
not a few of those influential families whose opulence and social posi- 
tion gave material strength to Methodism through much of its early 
liistory in that city, while their exemplary devotion helped to maintain 
its primitive purity and power." 

Henry Dorsey Gough and his family were distinguished examples. 
Gough possessed a fortune in lands and money amounting to more 
than three hundred thousand dollars. He had married a daughter of 
Governor Eidgeley. His country residence — Perry Hall, about twelve 
miles from the city — was one of the most spacious and elegant in 
America at that time. But he was an unhappy man in the midst of 
his luxury. His wife had been deeply impressed by the Methodist 
preaching, but he forbade her to hear them again. While reveling 
with wine and gay companions, one evening, it was proposed that they 
should divert themselves by going together to a Methodist assembly. 
Asbury was the preacher, and no godless diversion could be found in 
his presence. 

"What nonsense," exclaimed one of the convivialists, as they 
returned, " what nonsense have we heard to-night I " 

"Xo," replied Gough, startling them with sudden surprise ; " what 
we have heard is the truth, the truth as it is in Jesus." 

" I will never hinder you again from hearing the Methodists," he 
said, as he entered his house and met his wife. The impression of the 
sermon was so profound that he could no longer enjoy his accustomed 
pleasures. He became deeply serious, and at last melancholy, "and 
was near destroying himself" under the awakened sense of his mis- 
spent life ; but God mercifully preserved him. Biding to one of his 
plantations, he heard the voice of prayer and praise in a cabin, and 
listening, discovered that a negro from a neighboring estate was lead- 

GrouGH, OF Peery Hall. 447 

ing the devotions of his own slaves, and offering fervent thanksgivings 
for the blessings of their dej)ressed lot. His heart was touched, and 
with emotion he exclaimed, " Alas, O Lord ! I have my thousands and 
tens of thousands, and yet, ungrateful wretch that I am, I never 
thanked thee, as this poor slave does, who has scarcely clothes to put 
on or food to satisfy his hunger." The luxurious master was taught a 
lesson on the nature of true contentment and happiness, which he 
could never forget. His work-worn servants in their lowly cabins 
knew a blessedness which he had never found in his sumptuous man- 
sion. He returned home, pondering the mystery, with a distressed 
and contrite heart. He retired from his table, which was surrounded 
by a large comj)any of his friends, and threw himself upon his knees 
in a chamber. While there, imploring the mercy of God, he received 
conscious pardon and peace. ' In a transport of joy he went to his 
com23any, exclaiming, " I have found the Methodists' blessing ; I have 
found the Methodists' God ! " 

Both he and his wife now became members of the Methodist 
Society, and Perry Hall was henceforth an asylum for the itinerants 
and a " preaching place." Eankin visited it next year, and says, " I 
spent a most agreeable evening with them. A numerous family of 
servants were called in for exhortation and praj'er, so that, with them 
and the rest of the house, we had a little congregation." 

"Perry Hall," says Lednum, "was the resort of much company, 
among whom the skeptic and the Pomanist were sometimes found. 
Members of the Baltimore bar, the elite of Maryland, were there. 
But it mattered not who were there ; when the bell rang for family 
devotion they were seen in the chapel, which Mr. Gougli had 
erected near by, and if there was no male person present who 
could lead the devotions, Mrs. Gough read a chapter in the Bible, 
gave out a hymn, which was often raised and sung by the colored 
servants, after which she would engage in prayer. Take her alto- 
gether, 'few such have been found on earth.' Asbury called her 
a 'true daughter' to himself, and Coke, 'a precious woman of fine 
sense.' " 

Thus among high and low, rich and poor, the Lord was raising uj) 
a spiritual jDeople to praise him, and to carry forward his work in the 
New World. 

448 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

The Second Aiiierieaii Conference met in Pliiladel- 
pliia, May 25, 1774. The i-eports showed 10 circuits, situated in the 
Colonies of Xew York. '' The Jerseys," Pennsylvania, Maryland, and 
Virginia; 17 preachei*s — an increase of seven in one year; and 
2,073 members of Society — nearly double the number reported in 

Of the proceedings of the Conference there remain only a few 
references to economical arrangements. It was ordered that " every 
itinerant in full membership in the Conference must own the horse pro- 
vided for him by his circuit ; " that " each preacher should be allowed 
six pounds, Pennsylvania currency, a quarter, (the Pennsylvania 
"pound" was two dollars and sixty-six cents,) besides traveling ex- 
penses ; that Rankin, as '* General Assistant," should be supported by 
the circuits where he might spend his time ; that a collection should 
be made at Easter on ea<3h circuit to relieve the chapel debts and 
itinerants in want ; and that all were to change circuits at the end of 
six months; while Asbury and Pilmoor, in Philadelphia and New 
York, were to make an exchange once a quarter. 

Freeborn Oarrettson. — Among the little band who held 
the field during the VTar of the Eevolution was Freeborn Garrett- 
son, whose name and fame are so deeply interwoven in the his- 
tory of Methodism in Xew York. He M'as born in 1752, in 
Maryland, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, near the 
mouth of the Susquehanna River, where the Garrettson plantation 
still remains in the possession of a branch of the family. This 
able and admirable minister and organizer was converted in 1775, and 
at once the way seemed to open for his becoming a preacher. This 
idea he resisted as long as he dared ; but at length, after being warned 
in visions by night and overwhelmed with conviction by day, he sub- 
mitted to the call of God and entered the regular work of the itinerant 
ministry in 1775, in which he soon found use for all his native coui-age 
and his heaven-born jmtience and devotion. A " Tory " M-as an object 
of especial hatred to the patriots, among M'hom, as we have seen, 
the impression prevailed that the Methodist preachers were all Tories ; 
and on which account they were in constant peril. In Maryland Gar- 
rettson was mobbed and imprisoned on suspicion of too much loyalty 
to King George ; and on one occasion he was beaten almost to death 

Feeeboris^ Garrettsois'. 


with a stick by one of the magistrates of Queen Anne County, for 
no other offense than that of being a Methodist preacher. 

Pedicord, another itinerant, was attacked and beaten on the 
pubhc road with such violence that lie carried the scars to his 
grave. Foster, AVren, and Forrest were thrown into prison, and only 
released by their furnishing bonds for their future "good behavior;" 
which was understood to mean not to preach any more in the county. 
But there were always more counties somewhere, and thus the brave 


First Presiding Ek1l>r of N'ew York Distinct. 

pioneers held to their work, literally obeying the command of Christ, 
" Wlien they persecute- you in this city, flee ye into another," and 
patiently accej)ting the truth of his declaration that, " Tlie disciple is 
not above his Master,, nor the servant above bis Lord." 

A Plasoii fbr a Pulpit.— The experience of Joseph Hartley 
is Vv^orthy of special notice. After being "bound over" in penal 
bonds of five hundred pounds not to preach any more in Queen Anne 
County he took up his mission to the sinners in the county of Talbot. 
Here Im was- whipped and thrust into prison, where he was kept for a 


Illustrated Histoky of Methodism. 

considerable time ; but from the ■vrindow of Lis cell he kept u]) his 
ministry, and at length so great were the crowds attracted to this 
strange service that the work of the Lord went on faster than ever. 
On Sundays the people for ten or fifteen miles around used to assem- 
ble in front of his window, numbers of whom were haj)pily converted ; 
and so deep was the impression made by this preaching prisoner that 
some of the inhabitants declared he would convert the whole town if 
he were not released. The feehng in Hartley's favor grew so strong 


that the magistrates were glad to throw open the doors of his prison, 
provided he would go away and preach no more in Talbot County. 
^Nevertheless the work of grace went on in the community, and a pow- 
erful revival followed, which at length resulted in the establishment 
of a flourishing Society. 

A Great Revival in Virginia. — AVhile these persecutionn 
were in progress in Maryland, the neighboring colony of Virginia was 
the scene of a great revival of religion, chiefly under the labors of 
that warm-hearted English evangelist, Shadford. In 1775 and 1776, 
while the whole countrv was seething and sometimes boilinof over with 

A Great Revival in Virginia. 451 

revolutionarj wrath, no greater jjroof tlian this could be desired that 
the Lord was in the word as preached by his itinerant ministers. The 
center of this revival was the famous old Brunswick Circuit, to which 
Shadford was apj)ointed at the Conference of 1Y75. It comj^rised 
fourteen counties in the south-eastern -pa.rt of Yirginia and extended 
over into Bute and Halifax counties, in IS^orth Carolina. 

On his arrival Shadford found about eight hundred members in 
the Societies of his circuit, who, however, were very jDoorly organ- 
ized ; his first care, therefore, was to reform the classes, apj)oint proper 
leaders, and see that all the preachers who shared the circuit with him 
met their congregations in class at the close of every public service, in 
true Wesleyan fashion. The fruit of this labor was apparent in the 
rapid growth of the people in religious knowledge, and soon the whole 
circuit was in a glow of revival. 

Among Shadford's chief friends and helpers in this great circuit 
was the Rev. Mr. Jarratt, a ]3arish clergyman of the Episcopal, or 
Enghsh, Church, as it was then called, in Dinwiddle County, Yirginia. 
He was a thoroughly evangelical man, an admirer of Methodism, a 
behever in the Wesleyan views of the doctrines of Regeneration, Free 
Grace, and Entire Sanctification : in all of which respects he was a 
notable exception to the clergy of his order who claimed to repre- 
sent " the Church " in America. This good man entered heartily into 
the revival work, organized classes among liis own people, ranged the 
country preaching in all directions, while his own Church was in con- 
stant use for revival meetings, and his house was a home for the home- 
less itinerants, in whose success he had the grace to rejoice. 

Mr. Rankin, who went down to visit his brethren on the Brunswick 
Circuit during the height of the revival, gives the following account 
of a Sunday which he spent with Shadford : — 

" We went to the chaj)el at ten, where I had liberty of mind and 
strength of body beyond my expectation. After preaching I met the 
Society, and was more relieved both in body and mind. At four in 
the afternoon I preached again, from ' I set before thee an open door, 
and no man can shut it.' I had gone through about two thirds of my 
discourse, and was bringing the words home to the present 7iow, when 
such power descended that hundreds fell to the ground, and the house 
seemed to shake with the presence of God. The chapel was full of 

452 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

wliite and black, and many were without that could not get in. Look 
wherever we would we saw nothing but streaming eyes and faces 
bathed in tears ; and heard nothing but groans and strong cries after 
God and the Lord Jesus Christ. My voice was drowned amid the 
groans and prayers of the congregation. I then sat down in the pul- 
pit, and both Mr. S. and I were so filled with the divine presence that 
we could only say, ' This is none other but the house of God, and this 
is the gate of heaven ! ' Husbands were inviting their wives to go to 
heaven, wives their husbands : j)arents their children and children 
their parents : brothei*s their sisters and sisters their brothers. In 
short, those who were happy in God themselves were for bringing all 
their friends to him in their arms. This mighty effusion of the Spirit 
continued for above an hour : in which time many were awakened, 
some found peace with God, and others liis pure love. We attempted 
to speak or sing again and again ; but no sooner had we begun than our 
voices were drowned. It was with much difficulty that we at last per- 
suaded the people, as night drew on, to retire to their o\vn homes." 

Kankin also attended one of Shadford's quarterly meetings, of 
which he says : — 

" jS^o chapel or preaching-house in Virginia would have contained 
one third of the congregation. Our friends, knowing this, had con- 
trived to shade with boughs of trees a space that would contain two or 
three thousand persons, tender this, fully screened from the rays of 
tlie sun. we held our general love-feast. It began between eight and 
nine on Wednesday morning, and continued till noon. Many testified 
that they had ' redemption through the blood ' of Jesus, ' even the for- 
giveness of sins.' And many were able to declare that it had ' cleansed ' 
them ' from all sin.' So clear, so full, so strong was their testimony, 
that while some were speaking their exj^erience hundreds were in 
tears, and others vehemently crying to God for pardon or holiness. 

"About eight our watch-night began. Mr. J. [supposed to be 
Pastor Jarratt] preached an excellent sermon ; the rest of the preachers 
exhorted and prayed with divine energy'. Surely, for the work 
wrought on these two days, many ^vill praise God to all eternity." 

It was recorded as a remarkable fact that " many children from 
eight to ten years old are now under strong convictions, and some of 
them are savingly converted to God ; " a hint at the prevailing notion 

A Geeat Kevival in Vikginia. 453: 

amonii: Christians of those times that it was out of the mouths of erown 
up people only that the Lord could have any perfect praise, 

" One of the doctrines which are particularly insisted upon," writes 
Pastor Jarratt, " is, that of a present salvation ; a salvation not only 
from the guilt and power, but also from the root of sin ; a cleansing- 
from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, that we may perfect holiness in 
the fear of God ; a going on to perfection, which we sometimes define 
by ' Loving God with all our heart.' Several who had believed were 
deeply sensible of their want of this. I have seen both men and 
women, who had long been happy in a sense of God's pardoning love, 
as much convicted on account of the remains of sin in their hearts, 
and as much distressed for a total deliverance from them, as ever I saw 
any for justification," 

He also mentions that " the unhappy disputes between England 
and her colonies, which just before had engrossed all our conversation, 
seemed now in most companies to be forgot, while things of far greater 
importance lay so near the heart." 

In this revival, however, there was a very clear marking of the 
" color line." The chapels being none too large for the white congre- 
gations, the negroes we^e allowed to stand without, crowding about 
the doors and windows, where they were allowed to pick up such 
crumbs of comfort as fell from their Master's table. Large numbers 
of them were converted, but they must needs be organized into " black 

This great awakening continued for about two years, and its fruit& 
were sound and substantial. 

Writing in September, 1Y76, Jarratt says : " If you ask, ' How 
stands the case now with those that have been the subjects of the late 
work ? ' I have the pleasure to inform you I have not heard of any one 
apostate yet. Upon the whole, things are in as flourishing a condition 
as can reasonably be expected, considering what great numbers, of vari- 
ous capacities and stations, have lately been added to the Societies." 

On making up his statistics for the Conference of 1Y66 Shadford 
found that the membership of the Brunswick Circuit was 2,666, an 
increase of over 1,800 in a single year. Thus, in spite of the political 
clamor and confusion which sorely crippled other communions, Amer- 
ican Methodism gained this year an increase in membership of 1,873. 


Illustrated Histoey of Methodism, 

Asbury in Seclusion. — As the war-cloud grew darker the 
position of the itinerants became more perilous. Danger could not 
frigliten them from their work, but the laws now began to place insur- 
mountable obstacles in their path. In Maryland, for example, a test 
oath was ordered to be administered to all doubtful persons ; which 
oath was a pledge to take up arms in aid of the Kevolution if called to 
do so by the colonial authorities. Of course such oaths were not for 
the clergy ; but the itinerants were not " clergymen ; " they were only 
" preachers ; " and here was a convenient cudgel with which to belabor 
...^ them. Whatever may have 

been the personal pohtics of 
Asbury, he had not come to 
America to shoot men, but 
to save them ; and therefore, 
after being denounced as an 
Englishman, and escaping the 
death intended for him by 
some active Revolutionist, 
who put a bullet through 
his chaise but failed to reach 
its occupant, he took his de- 
parture for the Colony of 
Delaware, where the test-oath 
was not so rigidly enforced. 

But even here there was a 
" Light Horse Patrol," which, 
^^ in the name of Liberty, prac- 
ticed a good deal of petty 
tyranny. In April, ITYS, a 
Ijand of this revolutionary pohce came to the house of the Hon. 
Thomas White, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the County 
■ of Kent, seized him, and carried him off to jail under the charge of 
being a Methodist ! It was on the plantation of this same Methodist 
judge that Asbury had been forced to take refuge from his enemies, 
who, if they had known what prey was concealed in that httle cabin 
hidden among the shrubbery beyond the orchard, might have made 
another notable capture in the name of liberty. 


The Crime of BEiNa a Methodist. 455 

For five weeks the judge was held a prisoner ; prayers being offered 
night and day for his safety by his godly household, whose devotions 
were led by the man of all others whom the patriots now wished to 
capture, or else to drive out of the country. When his trial came on 
his wife conducted his defense ; perhaps for the reason that no lawyer 
could be found to do it ; and so admirably did she plead her cause that 
her husband and chent was " acquitted," though he was unquestion- 
ably guilty of the offense charged against him. 

Meanwhile the search for the hated British Methodist was kej)t 
up by the patriot patrol, who sometimes used violence as well as 
vigilance ; it therefore became the part of discretion — valor was 
out of the question — for Asbury to fly from this place of concealment, 
lest his friends should have their house burned over their heads by 
this irresponsible mob on suspicion that the " Tory preacher " might be 
hidden in it. Tliis he did ; and like a runaway negro, a fugitive from 
injustice, he took to the woods and swamps, and it was nearly a month 
before he ventured to return. During this time he found shelter in 
the rude cabin of a friendly backwoodsman ; and he mentions also that 
in these thirty or forty days in the wilderness liis soul was blessed with 
very precious manifestations of divine love. 

Although a recluse, Asbury was the chief of the itinerant gospel 
band. One by one, or two by two, they visited him, keeping him 
informed of the progress of the work, which he continued to direct 
by letters. In 1Y79 he ventured to hold a Conference at the Judge's 
mansion ; but for a time such was the storm of patriotic persecution 
that he could only leave his wood-embowered cottage by night : and 
this he did, going from house to house in the darkness, and preaching 
the Gospel, which was as a fire shut up in his bones. 

Perhaps this good man would have made a more brilhant figure in 
history, as history goes, if he had taken the oath which he was at 
such pains to avoid. If he had joined the Continental army and 
marched to the defense of liberty, he might also have come down the. 
generations as one of the Revolutionary fathers, with a piquant 
perfume of gunpowder about him; but the fathers of Methodism 
had not learned that the ten commandments, or any of them, might 
be suspended by the vote of a majority in a Republic, or by the 
royal wiU of a King. They held to the plain letter of the law of 

456 Illustrated Histoky of Methodism. 

God, wbicli. in the real or fancied exigences of government, is so 
easily explained away. If any modern Methodist is moved to mourn 
as he finds himself confronted with the statement that so few of the 
fathers of his Churcli had epaulets on their shoulders, let him comfort 
himself with the other recollection that so few of them had blood on 
their hands. The most of them were brave enough not to be driven 
by the rush of patriotic fury into laying down the Bible and taking 
up the sword. They could suiier and die, if need be, for the sake of 
the cause to which they had devoted themselves ; but if they were to 
be martyrs, they preferred to suffer for Christ's sake and the Gospel's 
rather than for the sake of what difference there might be between 
living under the government of a congress and under that of a 
parhament and king. 

The £iig^li!^li Missionaries Depart. — The inglorious 
flight of Rodda in 1T77, made necessary by his too ardent service of 
Ejng George ; and the more dignified departure of Rankin, who could 
not keep pace with events, left only two of the English brethren in 
the field ; Asbury and Shadf ord. It appears that these two men had 
hoped to weather the storm ; but it was now evident that the patriots 
were bent on driving out of the country, or else out of the world, 
every man of any consequence who would not swear allegiance to 
their ideas of liberty. At last Shadford's British heart failed him, 
and he sought out his only remaining Wesleyan co-patriot, into whose 
hands the care of all the Societies had fallen, for the purpose of taking 
a survey of the situation. 

It was a discouraging situation enough. Two of the three chief 
points which had determined the geographical position of the Meth- 
odist circle were blotted out. It was no longer possible to supply the 
Xew York and Philadelpliia pulpits with members of the Conference ; 
Norfolk, Ya., had been abandoned ; the country was full of bands of 
armed men — soldiers, patrols, bushwhackers fighting on their own 
hook — aU of whom had a strong prejudice against men of their 
profession. The Americans were still divided into AVhigs and 
Tories ; for the fate of the revolution still hung in even scale ; and 
thus, in spite of their determination to let all politics alone and attend 
only to the ministry of the word, the preachers stood between two 
fires. What was to be done ? As the last and proper resort they 

The English Missiojs'aries Depart. 457 

pealed the case to Heaven, and separated to spend a day in solemn 
fasting and prayer. 

It was no light occasion that brought Asbury and Shadford to 
their knees to inquire of the Lord whether they should or should 
not abandon their work. Shadford had suffered as well as his 
chief. He had been threatened with imprisonment in Virginia, 
and, after a year and a half of remarkable usefulness, he left it 
for the North in the depth of winter. On his route he was lost in 
the woods at night, when the weather was intensely cold and the snow 
a foot deep. He could discover no house ; without relief he must 
perish. He fell upon his knees and prayed for deliverance. On rising 
he stood some time listening, when he heard the distant barking of a 
dog. Following the sound, he was welcomed at the house of a plan- 
tation. Thus saved, he hastened into Maryland ; but there also he 
was required to renounce his loyalty, or be in peril of im]3risonment, 
if not death. He could not travel without a pass, nor have a j)ass 
without taking the oaths. 

In the evening of this solemn day of decision Shadford rejoined 
his chief, and inquired what conclusion he had reached. 

" I do not see my way clear to go to England," responded the stead- 
fast Asbury. Shadford rephed, " My work here is done ; I cannot 
stay ; it is as strongly impressed on my mind that I ought to go home, 
as it was at first that I ought to come to America." 

" Then one of us must be under a delusion," rejoined Asbury. 

" Not so," said Shadford ; " I may have a call to go, and you to 

" I believe," adds Shadford, " we both obeyed the call of Provi- 
dence. We saw we must part, though we loved as David and Jona- 
than. And, indeed, these times made us love one another in a pecul- 
iar manner. O how glad were we to meet and pour our griefs into 
each other's bosom ! " 

Shadford managed to obtain a pass from the military authorities to 
go to the jSTorth, and at once set out across the country for Philadel- 
phia. That night he was attacked by an armed man on the highway, 
who presented a musket at his breast, threatening his life. He and a 
companion were allowed at last to proceed, but found that the bridge 
at Chester was broken down. "With our saddle-bags upon our 

458 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

backs," lie says, '* we crept on our hands and knees on a narrow plank 
to that part of the great bridge that remained standing, and got our 
horses over the next morning. Thus, through the mercy and good- 
ness of God, we got safe into Chester that night, and the next night 
into Philadelphia. Here we met three or fom* of our preachers, who, 
like ourselves, were refugees. I continued near six weeks before I 
got a passage, and then embarked for Cork in Ireland ; from thence 
to Wales, and then across to Bristol." 

Shadf ord then resumed his ministry in England, and labored with 
his characteristic ardor till 1791, when, after twenty-three years of 
itinerant hfe, his infirm health required him to take a supernumerary 
relation to the Conference, and in 1S16 he died in great triumph in the 
seventy-eighth year of his age. 

" So we are left alone," writes Asbury ; " but I leave myself in the 
hand of God, relying on his good providence to direct and protect, 
persuaded that nothing will befall me but what shall conduce to his 
glory and my benefit." But if " left alone " by the Wesleyan mission- 
aries, Methodism in America had been planted by rivers of waters, and 
was already bearing frait abundantly, while a band of faithful and 
efficient " Helpers," as Wesley called his preachers of the rank and 
file, were already in the field, who, in spite of all their enemies, were 
holding most of the ground they had so painfuUy and faithfully won. 

The hearts of the preachers now turned with one accord to Asbury 
as the man to lead them out of this wilderness of war. He was by 
far the ablest and most experienced man among them ; had been duly 
appointed by Wesley as " General Assistant for America ; " had shown 
a much better understanding of the Colonial situation and the Colonial 
temper than Rankin, who was too good a Scotchman to be a good Amer- 
ican ; and now that he had chosen their people for his people, as well 
as their God for his God, the native-bom preachers, into whose untried 
but not unskillful hands so great a work had fallen, rallied around their 
chief, who thenceforth became to them a Joshua : the personal lead- 
ership of their English Moses having substantially ended with the 
arrival in America of his unfortunate Calm Address. 

Influential Friends. — In this enforced seclusion of nearly 
two years, Asbury gained some distinguished friends ; among them 
Richard Bassett, of Dover, whose country-seat at Bohemia Manor, and 

Influential Fkiends. 459 

its old " Betiiesda Chapel," came to be very familiar to the itinerants ; 
the one for its warm hospitality, the other for the displays of divine 
power and glory therein. The high position of Judge Bassett, who 
was a member of the Convention wliich formed the Constitution of the 
new nation, a Senator in Congress, and afterward Governor, was such 
that he was able to render his itinerant brethren valuable assistance. 
A letter from Asbury to Rankin had also fallen into the hands of some 
American officers, wherein was abundant evidence of the love of the 
writer for the people of his adopted country, and his expectation of 
seeing it an independent nation. Thus the Governor of Maryland 
was persuaded that Asbury and the men under his command were in 
no wise dangerous to the progress of " free institutions," and the 
preachers were presently allowed to travel their circuits without fur- 
ther magisterial hindrance; though they still had to contend with 
infidelity, which, from first to last, was a prominent factor in the 
working of the war, and which still gave them frequent tastes of 
ruffianism which kept their mission from losing the excitement of 

Another well-known name is that of Philip Barratt, " the pious 
Judge Barratt," as Asbury calls him, who helped to shelter the itiner- 
ants through the stormy war period, and who entered into eternal 
peace a Httle while before the organization of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, in 1784. 

Another honored name is that of the Bev. Dr. M'Gaw ; one of the 
friends of Asbury in his retirement, and soon afterward called to be 
Bector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. This clergy- 
man, and the excellent Virginia rector, Jarratt, stand as points of 
admiration in the history of the English Church in America ; shining 
illustrations, like Fletcher, Perronet, Grimshaw, and Yenn, in England, 
of how good and how pleasant a thing it is for Methodists and Epis- 
copalians, brethren of the same blood, to dwell together in harmony if 
not in unity. 

Otterbeiii and the United Brethren. — The close fel- 
lowship, followed by the open rupture, of Mr. Wesley with the Mora- 
vian Church and its leader, Count Zinzendorf, of Herrnhut, is called 
to mind by the ardent friendship which existed between Francis As- 
bury and the Rev. Phihp WiUiam Otterbein ; the leading mind in the 

460 Illustkated History of Methodism. 

formation of the body called the United Brethren in Christ. In the 
year 1T42 Count Zinzendorf visited Pennsylvania, and by his earnest 
preaching of Free Grace, then quite a doctrinal wonder in America, 
called together, in addition to those of his own Society, the United 
Brethren who had immigrated to that colony, a number of Lutherans, 
German Reformers, Mennonites, Tunkers, etc., all of whom were won 
over to his views, and who were afterward united into what was called 
•• The Congregation of God in the Sjairit." Their Arminian theology 
brought them into conflict with the German Reformed Church, whose 
clergy were pronounced Calvinists ; many of them wanting also in the 
knowledge and personal experience of evangelical religion. 


Some ten years later Mr. Otterbein, then a minister in the German 
Reformed Church, came out to America. He was too spiritually minded 
to suit the temper of the Lutheran Church ; but he soon found that a 
political Church in the colonies was no more spiritually minded than 
the same Church at home, and after some years of service among the 
American Lutherans he s\vung away from his moorings and started out 
to worship God for himself, and to give what help he coiild to who- 
ever chose to go with him. In 1774 he organized, at Howai'd's Hill, in 
Baltimore, what he called an Evangelical Reformed Church, which 
became the center of a considerable conference of Churches under the 
name of United Brethren ; of which himself and the Rev. Martin 

Otterbein and the Uistited Beetheen. 


Eoelim, fatber of the late Eev. Henry Boehm, were the first super- 
intendents or bishops. 

Wherever the itinerants went in the German-speaking regions of 
Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, they were likely to find fam- 
ilies, if not Societies, of these evangelical German Christians, who gave 
them a cordial welcome ; and if they were so happy as to possess a 
church, it was sure to be at the service of the itinerants whenever 
they appeared. Otterbein and Asbury were deeply attached to eacli 
other. They j)reached together in many revivals, and when Dr. Coke 
arrived to set apart Francis Asbury for the office of General Superin- 
tendent of the Methodist Societies in America, Otterbein assisted at 
his ordination. 

Modern Methodists may well extend a brotherly hand to the mem- 
bers of that communion whose early history is so preciously inter- 
woven with that of their own. The body at present consists of 
between thirty and forty " Conference Districts ; " over five thousand 
""preaching places," only about » one-fifth of which are " meeting- 
houses ; " nearly a thousand A " itinerant preachers ; " and, in 
Tound numbers, a membership i of one hundred thousand souls. 




War TS. Relig'ion. — That long-drawn misery called the War 
of the Revolution, wore itself out in 1782, though peace was not 
formally declared until 1Y83. 

It had been a period of sin as well as of misery, for colonial Piety 
was compelled to wait until colonial Liberty had settled her quarrel : 
thus iniquity abounded and the love of many waxed cold. The 
doctrines of the patriots implied the largest faith in man, but they 
did not always imply any considerable faith in God ; the hottest repub- 
hcanism and the coldest infidelity being often found in the same mind. 
"Washington knew how to pray, but in this, as in many other things, 
he was an exceptional soldier ; while, as is weU-known, the opening of 
the first American Congress with prayer was on account of the unex- 
pected presence of a clergyman, and not according to any previous 

It is doubtful if the Colonies could have achieved their independ- 
ence while they were so young and weak without the aid of France ; 
who, besides sending a few troops to their assistance, kept the common 
enemy busy on the other side of the water. But along with Frencli 
sympathy came French philosophy, whose teachings accorded well 
with the lawlessness and license which war always brings. Yoltaire, 
the great French apostle in politics, literature, and irrehgion, was a 
more agreeable teacher than Jesus. The one preached death as the 
end of all things to a sinner, while the other announced the unwelcome 
fact of a future perdition for ungodly men. 

Besides, it was no small trial to the faith and patience of the sturdy 
Colonists to have their two chief cities, ]N^ew York and Philadelphia, 
garrisoned by the enemy ; to be challenged by red-coated sentinels as 
they walked their own streets ; and to hold their lives and property 
subject to the caprice of some British officer sent out to chastise them 
into submission. As for Xew England, its people were too mad to be 
very religious — Puritanism had always a terrible temper when fully 


aroused ; the South never was very devout ; having for the most part 
nothing but the official forms of godliness ; and during those gloomy 
years the only vigorous life among any body of believers was among 
the much-abused Methodists, who, though subject to every species of 
indignity at the hands of magistrates, soldiers, and ruffians, resolutely 
persisted in preaching the Gospel ; which preaching the Lord accom- 
panied with signal displays of his grace. 

Asbnry a^ain at the Front. — During the last half of the 
war-period Asbury, having outlived the suspicions of the patriots, was 
permitted to resume his place as the general of the itinerant forces, in 
which he displayed abilities of the highest order : patience, persistence, 
indifference to personal sufferings, the power of combination and sys- 
tematic arrangement, and a consummate judgment of men : just those 
qualities which the situation demanded in a pioneer Bishop who was 
called upon to manage a diocese reaching from Jersey to Florida, from 
the coast to the Alleghanies, and over them ; some portions of which 
were occupied by hostile armies, and the whole of it suffering from 
the poverty and commotion produced by a long and exasperating civil 

There is no other hero in America with whom to measure Asbury, 
except the otherwise incomparable Washington. A careful study of 
these two leaders will show a striking similarity between them ; each 
pre-eminent in his own field, and each honored above the other accord- 
ing as the individual student of their character and career is moved to 
give precedence to Church or State, to patriotism or piety. 

As soon as it was possible Asbury organized the whole Methodist 
work into one great circuit, which, with incredible toil and in spite 
of frequent illness, he compassed once, and sometimes twice, a year. 
The reader of his Journals is bewildered with the rapidity of his 
movements ; but through them all the tireless, invincible apostle 
appears, planning grandly and as grandly executing his plans ; rais- 
ing up hosts of preachers ; forming new Churches, new Circuits, and 
new Conferences ; extending his denomination to all points of the 
compass, till it becomes before his death co-extensive with the nation. 

He traversed the wilderness of the South and West, sometimes being 
compelled to use two horses, because no one beast could carry a man 
all day over the wretched bridle-paths and across the mountain tor- 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

rents, often incapable of ferriage and almost always wanting a bridge. 
On one occasion be says : — 

" W^e set ont for Crump's, over rocks, hills, creeks, and pathless 

woods. The yonng man with me 
was heartless before we had traveled 
a mile : but when he saw how I 
could bush it, and sometimes force 
my way through a thicket and 
make the young saplings bend be- 
fore me, and twist and turn out of 
the way or path, for there was no 
road, he took courage. "With 
great difficulty we came into the 
settlement about two o'clock, after 
t ravelin o; eight or nine hours : the 
people looking almost as wild as the deer in the woods. I have 
only time to pray, and write in my Journal ; always upon the wing ; 
as the rides are so long and the roads so bad, it takes me many hours, 
for in general I walk my horses. 

" I crossed Eocky River about ten miles from Haw River. It was 
rocky, sure enough. I can see httle else but cabins in these parts 
built with poles. I crossed Deep River in a ferry-boat, and the poor 
ferry-man swore because I had not a shilling to give him." 

It was just this Herculean labor so sagaciously bestowed that pre- 
served the unity of the scattered Societies. Asbury was every-where. 
Was there a dispute among the preachers at the South over their 
rights to administer the sacraments ? He was at hand with cautious 
counsels to prevent an open break with Mr. "Wesley. Was a poor 
itinerant in trouble with the authorities ? He was ready with his per- 
sonal iniiuence to protect him ; or with his purse to pay his iniquitous 
fine. Was there a man posted in an almost inaccessible region among 
the mountains ? He was sure to pay a visit to the outpost and cheer the 
lonely sentinel with his wise and loving words. Was there a little 
band of adventurous spirits planting themselves in the wilderness far 
beyond the lines of the frontier ? Asbury was sure to hear of them 
and to run his ever-extending circuit-lines so as to take them in. 
His was the mind that planted the Methodist organization in America, 

An Oedained Wesleyan Ministry. 467 

and put and kept it in working order, till, at the close of the war, when 
other branches of the Church militant were more or less demoralized, his 
Httle band of veterans, seasoned with hard campaigning and flushed 
with constant victory in the name of the Lord, were ready for a fresh 
and immediate advance all along the line ; and it was just this mighty 
onset, at the time when other Churches were rallying and recruiting, 
that gave to Methodism the foremost place among the Christian com- 
munions of the !N"ew "World, 

At one time, Asbury was driven to take a httle rest at the "White 
Sulphur Springs, in Virginia, which even then had begun to be a 
famous watering-place, and this is the list of his regular duties 
during this vacation, as reported by a friend who accompanied 
him : — 

" He reads," says his friend, " about one hundred pages a day ; 
usually prays in public five times a day ; preaches in the open air every 
other day ; and lectures in prayer-meeting every evening." As further 
evidence of his tireless diligence, it appears that being constantly 
obliged to make long journeys on horseback through wild and un- 
settled portions of the country, by way of making the most of his time 
he took up the study of the Greek and Hebrew languages, and actually 
learned as he rode the forest paths to read the Scriptures in their 
orioinal tono'ues. 

All Ordained "Wesleyan Ministry was now the special 
demand of the American Methodists, who had, with great difficulty, 
been prevented from setting up an independent ministry for them- 
selves. The Conference of 1Y80, held in Baltimore, determined, after 
much debate, to " continue in close communion with the American sec- 
tion of the English Church," relying upon the " friendly clergy " there- 
of for the administration of the sacraments ; the Methodists having, as 
yet, not a single ordained minister among them. But America was 
now, in 1Y84, a nation by itseK, and the active and growing Societies 
could not be persuaded to remain in " close communion," or in any 
communion whatever, with a Church which was the creature of a 
foreign and recently hostile State. Something must be done that the 
fifteen thousand Methodists in America might no longer be defrauded 
of their rights and privileges as members of the Church of God ; and, 
also, that the eighty itinerant ministers might be permitted to attain 

468 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

that rank in the Church to which the providence of God had appointed 
them, and which they had so heroically earned. 

During the Revolution the American Methodists had rapidly mul- 
tiplied. At the Conference of 1TS4 their numbers were reported at 
14,988, with 83 itinerant preachers, besides several hundred local 
preachers. Like their brethren in England, they had hitherto regarded 
themselves as in some way related to the Enghsh Church, as it was then 
represented in America. But the " friendly clergy of the Church of 
England," to whom the Conference had voted to look for the adminis- 
tration of the sacraments, had now nearly all departed for England^ 
and a large number of the Episcopal Churches had perished during the 
war. In Virginia twenty-three out of ninety-five parishes were extinct 
or forsaken ; and of the remaining seventy two, thirty-four were desti- 
tute of pastors; while of her ninety-eight clergymen, only twenty- 
eight remained. This, however, was a small misfortune, for the Rev. 
Mr. Jarratt, himself a clergyman of the Church of England, declares 
that " most of the clergy preached what was little better than deism," 
and were bitter revilers and persecutors of those who preached the- 

Under these circumstances the Methodists sought to cut themselves 
loose from theii' Churchly leading-strings, and began to demand of 
their preachers the administration of the saci'aments. Many of the 
Societies had been months, some of them years, without these sacred 
ordinances. Five years before this, in 1779, the preachers in the South 
proceeded to ordain themselves by the hands of three of their senior 
members, unwilling that their people should longer be denied the 
Lord's Supper, and their childi'en and probationary members the rite 
of Baptism. Asbury was greatly annoyed at this, and a year afterward 
with difficulty succeeded in persuading them to suspend the adminis- 
tration of the sacraments till further advice could be received from 
Wesley. Asbury wrote to "Wesley, telling him of the greatness of the 
work, and of the division that had taken place in Virginia on account 
of the people's uneasiness respecting the sacraments. Thousands of 
their children were unbaptized, and the members of the Societies in 
general had not partaken of the Lord's Supper for many years ; some 
of them never. For these urgent reasons he implored Mi*. Wesley to 
• Tyerman's " Life and Times of "Wesley." 

An Ordained Wesley an Ministry. 469 

send out an ordained minister to America who could, supply this 
painful lack of service. 

With the new nation came the necessity for the establishment of a 
new section of the Church. In this emergency Mr. Wesley, having 
exhausted his last hope of aid from the English Episcopate, fell back 
upon the rights which, as he believed, were vested in him by the 
a,postolic constitution, by the constitution of the Church of England, 
and also by the immediate providence and grace of God ; and pre- 
pared to set up the form and order of the Catholic and Apostolic 
Church, as he understood it, for the government and fellowship of his 
sj^iritual children in the United States and Canada. Accordingly he 
ordained Dr. Coke, his most distinguished assistant and his most trusted 
friend, as " Superintendent of the Methodist Societies in America," 
and sent him out, thus accredited, to ordain Erancis Asbury to a like 
office, and thus establish the Episcopal form of Church government 
among the Methodists of the New World. 

" Of his power to ordain AVesley had. no doubt. Nearly forty 
years before he had been convinced by ' Lord King's Account of the 
Primitive Church,' that bishops and presbyters are of one order. In 
1756 he wrote : ' I still believe the episcopal form of Church govern- 
ment to agree with the practice and writings of the apostles ; but tliat 
it is prescribed in Scripture I do not believe. This opinion, which I 
once zealously espoused, I have been heartily ashamed of ever since 
I read Bishop Stillingfleet's " Irenicon." I think he has unanswerably 
proved that neither Christ nor his apostles prescribe any j^articular 
form of Church government ; and that the plea of divine right for 
diocesan episcopacy was never heard of in the primitive (.liureli.' 
Again, in 1Y61, in a letter to a friend, he repeated that Stillin(j,-fleet 
had fully convinced him that to believe that none but episcopal 
ordination was valid ' was an entire mistake.' And again, in 1780. he 
shocked the High-church bigotry of his brother by declaring, ' I 
verily believe I have as good a right to ordain as to administer the 
Lord's Supper.' " * 

The Rev. Thomas Coke, lili.D. — Although the life and 
laboi-s of Dr. Coke enter so largely into the history of British Meth- 

* Tyerman's " Life and Times of Wesley," vol. iii, p. 430. His quotations are from 
Wesley's " Works," vol. vii, octavo edition. 


Illustrated History of Methodism. 

odisni, and especially into the history of Britisli TVesleyan missions, yet, 
as the tirst Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, his biography 
belongs, in a special sense, to the history of Methodism in America. 

Since his advent among the British Methodists in 1778, Dr. Coke 
had been, after John Wesley, the most prominent leader among them. 
He was a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. He was rich, and 
could travel at his own expense ; he was a scholar, and would give 
additional dignity to the little Conference in America ; he was a man 


' '^•^/ ^ 

July (•), L 

of great personal power and magnetism ; and last, though not least, as 
Mr. Wesley regarded it, he was a presbyter in the Church of England. 
The first meeting between Wesley and Coke occurred at the village 
of Kingston, near Taunton, in August, 1776, at which date Wesley 
was a venerable man of seventy-three. Coke was a young presby- 
ter of the Church of England, and curate of the parish of Soutk 
Petherton. He was already a genuine Methodist, though he had never 

Thomas Coke. 471 

attended a Methodist meeting ; he was, therefore, prepared to be cap- 
tivated at once by the spirit and genius of Wesley, to whom, as will 
shortly be seen, he presently attached himself as a son and helper in 
the Gospel. 

Thomas Coke was born in the village of Brecon, in Wales, on the 
9th of September, 1747. His J^ther was an influential gentleman, a 
surgeon by profession, who was several times Mayor of Brecon ; and 
Thomas, being an only child, the most liberal plans were laid out for his 
education ; which, on the death of his father, were carried out by his 
excellent mother, who lived to see him become Mr. Wesley's chief assist- 
ant, and to become herself a member of the Methodist Society at Bristol. 

At the age of sixteen the young man was entered as a gentleman 
commoner at Jesus College, Oxford. Here he was at first disgusted 
with the licentiousness which prevailed among the students ; but at 
length his mind became tainted with their infidel notions, and being a 
lively, handsome young fellow, fond of cards, dancing, and other pleas- 
ures of fashionable society, he was far along on the road to ruin before 
his conscience could bring him to a stand. 

At length, in spite of his infidel notions, the faith of his childhood 
began to torment him with forebodings of the future, which he was 
not able to shake oft'. While in this wretched state of mind he paid a 
visit to a Welsh clergyman, who, when Sunday came, preached a brill- 
iant and powerful sermon, which so affected the young student that 
on their way home from Chureli he opened his heart to the minister, 
praised his discourse, confessed that it had driven him from his refuge 
of lies, and begged to be further instructed in things pertaining to the 
kingdom of God ; but what was his amazement when the minister 
laughingly assured him that " it was only a sermon," and that he liim- 
self did not believe that kind of doctrine, but preached it simply 
because it was the thing required of him as a clergyman of an orthodox 

The young Oxonian was now in deeper trouble than ever ; his 
struggles between faith and doubt became more and more desperate, 
till some of the writings of Bishop Sherlock came in his way. These 
settled his mind in favor of the orthodox views, and led him to for- 
sake his wild companions at college and turn his thoughts to the holy 
office. But there were more candidates than " livings," and young 

472 Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

Coke, after waiting several years for an eligible opening, during wliicli 
time he took liis Oxford degree of Doctor of Civil Law, was glad to 
accept the curacy of South Petherton, in Somersetshire, where he soon 
became unpleasantly distinguished as a zealous country parson. 

Hitherto he was a Christian only in doctrine : of the experience of 
sa\ang grace, like the great majority of the clergy, he knew nothing 
at all. He believed in the Bible, the Prayer Book, and the Catechism ; 
Fletcher's " Checks to Antinomianism " had cured liiui of the predes- 
tinarian views in which he had been trained at home, and filled his 
mind and heart M'ith the evangelical doctrines, which he preached with 
all his might — preached them sometimes without a manuscript, after 
the manner of the Methodists — preached them from house to house, 
among the aged and the sick, who could not, and among the indif- 
ferent and vicious, who would not, join the crowds who attended his 
ministry at the parish church. These efforts for the actual salvation of 
actual sinners made him obnoxious both to the easy-going clergy and 
the worldly-minded laity of his region of country, among whom he 
soon began to be denounced as a "Methodist" — a word which, in 
those days, was synonymous with our word " fanatic," and which was 
applied to any one who was very much in earnest about spiritual and 
eternal things, no matter what might be his peculiar doctrinal views. 

Dr. Coke becomes a llethodist. — In one of the doctor's 
visits to a friend in Devonshire he discovered a genuine Methodist, 
the first he had ever seen. He was a simple-hearted man employed on 
his friend's estate ; the leader of a little class ; learned in nothing but 
the Scriptures, and wise only in matters of Christian experience. The 
two men talked and prayed together a good deal during the doctor's 
visit, and it was to this godly jDeasant more than to any other person 
that Coke declared himself indebted for leading him into the experi- 
ence of religion. On returning from this visit he preached more hke 
a Methodist than ever, and on one occasion, while speaking in his own 
pulpit, the power of God came down upon him, filling his soul witli 
unspeakable joy. This blessed exj)erience he announced to his people, 
and at his first sermon after that happy event three souls were awak- 
ened under the word. 

The parish was now in a ferment. The genteel portion were 
utt'ended at his zeal, tlie impenitent at his severity; while those who 

Dk. Coke becomes a Methodist. 473 

liad relied on their outward morality for salvation were disgusted to 
hear that, without being born again, even tliej could not enter the 
kingdom of God. The neighboring clergy were displeased because 
Dr. Coke drew away their congregations, and the choir of the parish 
church were wounded in their vanity because the curate had intro- 
duced the singing of hynms by the congregation, instead of leaving 
all the praise and glory of the music to them. The bishop of the 
diocese was appealed to, to correct this irregular man, but he found 
nothing in him worthy of punishment. At length his enemies, 
having no other resort, persuaded the rector of the parish to dismiss 
his troublesome curate ; which was hastily done in public without giv- 
ing him any notice ; and to make his disgrace more terrible the bells 
of the church were rung as he passed out of the door. But years 
afterward they rang him in again, when, on a visit to the scene of 
their disgrace — not his — the rejected curate was hailed as one of the 
chief Methodists, as well as one of the chief men of his times. 

This curacy of three years' duration had cured Dr. Coke of all his 
high expectations of preferment in the State Churcli ; lie had too 
much religion to hope for large success in that direction. Thus by 
pressure from without, as well as by drawings from within, he joined 
himself to Mr. Wesley's band of itinerants, and in 1TT8 was appointed 
to the old Foundry, at London. The fame of his talents as well as 
of his trials had preceded him, and he was received with much joy 
by the London Society, who soon came to admire him for his marked 
abihty, as well as to love him for his Christly spirit. AYesley hailed 
him as the strongest re-enforcement he had ever received, and made 
him his confidential adviser in place of his brother Charles ; and 
from this time forward until his death the name of Doctor, afterward 
Bishop, Coke is closely interwoven in Methodist history, chiefly in 
connection with his efforts to carry the Gospel into " foreign parts." 
He traveled and preached by sea and by land, over the English- 
speaking world of his day ; his restless and heroic spirit never suifer- 
, ing him to be content unless he were planning a missionary crusade 
or planting the standard of the cross in some position far in advance 
of the established lines of the Church both at home and abroad. 

Dr. Coke and Methodist Missions. — For many years 
the Doctor was a whole missionary society in himself ; the earliest and 


Illustrated Histoey of Methodism. 

one of the most efficient that ever existed. This was an office in 
which to win immortal honor below and eternal glory above, but one 
which subjected him to no small discourtesy, hardship, criticism, and 
even abuse. The Church of that day, with the exception of the 
German Moravians, were sound asleep so far as the duty of foreign, 
missions was concerned ; and it was a thankless as well as difficult 
task to awaken it from its comfortable lethargy. Even in the ranks of 
the Methodists, missions were by no meaus so popular as at present, 


and Dr. Coke was compelled to beg from house to house the funds 
which his schemes required : a process requiring, at that time, an in- 
describable amount of patience and courage, and one which made him 
anything but a popular man. By some good people he was laughed 
at for intermeddling with divine Providence ; by otliers he was coolly 
thrust aside as a nuisance ; but none of these things moved him or 
in the least abated bis missionary zeal : bis time, his fortune, and his 

A Mission AEY Wife. 475 

life had, once for all, been laid upon this altar, and God had doubt- 
less accepted the sacrifice. The matter, therefore, was fixed and final. 

A Missionary Wife. — In the later part of his career Dr. 
Coke's hands were strengthened and his resources increased in a some- 
what romantic manner. 

During the year 1805 word was brought to him that there was a 
wealthy and benevolent lady. Miss Penelope Goulding Smith, staying 
at the Hot Wells, in Bristol, for her health, and without loss of time 
he paid her a missionary call. His plans so interested the lady that 
she promised him a contribution of a hundred guineas if he would 
call upon her on her return to her home, at Bradford, in Wiltshire ; 
and when in due time he presented himself to collect the subscription 
the lady gave him two hundred guineas instead of one hundred ; so 
deep an impression had he produced upon her mind. 

This was the beginning of a friendship which in the following 
year ripened into matrimony, whereby the doctor gained an estimable 
and pious helpmeet, a life-member to his individual missionary society, 
and an additional fortune to aid him in spreading the Gospel among 
the heathen at home and abroad. 

Previous to her marriage the lady had led a very secluded hfe, but 
for the love of her missionary husband, whose work compelled him to 
spend much of his time on the road, she gave up her quiet mansion 
for a great traveling carriage, in which this devoted couple may 
almost be said to have resided for four out of the six years of their 
wedded life. Having now no fixed dwelling-place, the doctor's choice 
books and papers were stowed in the carriage ; as well as the more 
strictly personal baggage of the two travelers ; and in this four-wheeled 
ofiice the first Missionary Society transacted its business, planned its 
campaigns, and kept itself before the public. 

The arrival of this compact and somewhat complex expedition at 
the house of the hospitable Methodists along the Doctor's routes, where 
he was wont to halt for dinner, supper, or lodgings, was quite a nota- 
ble event ; amusing, indeed, in some of its aspects, though none the 
less memorable on that account. To unload the ample vehicle of its 
multifarious contents required the united services of the entire 
household ; a task which nothing but the dignity, heroism, and self- 
forgetfulness of the distinguished passengers could render very agree- 

476 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

able. Then the lady was not in firm health, neither was she fond of 
travel, nor yet of making acquaintance of strangers ; thus it was with 
some considerable embarrassment that this itinerating missionary head- 
quarters made its yearly rounds ; while the moneys paid into its treas- 
ury were, for a time, more than equalled by those bestowed and ex- 
pended by the occupant of the office itself. 

On the 25th of January, 1811, Mrs. Coke departed from this mis- 
sionary life, in the forty-ninth year of her age. During her brief 
and happy wifehood she devoted her fortune, comfort, time, soul^ 
and body to her glorious husband and to the mission on which the 
Lord had sent him. Cheerfully she endured a life which, to a person 
of her quiet tastes and retiring disposition, would otherwise have been 
insufferable : but four years of such vagabond discomfort hterally 
wore out the life of this modest, devoted gentlewoman, and among the 
list of the noble army of missionary martyrs her name deserves an 
honorable place. 

Coke's Coiiiiiieiitary. — -For a short time after his marriage 
the good man suffered himself to be domesticated, and spent a quiet 
year or two on the estates of his -wife finishing his Commentary on the 
Holy Scriptures ; a work which he had undertaken at the request of 
the Conference ; he being, at Wesley's death, the only competen|; 
scholar among them. From 1790 to 1807 all the time he could spare 
from his missionary labors he devoted to this work, whose appearance, 
in numbers, was hailed by the Methodists as one of the wonders of tlieir 
age. When finished it comprised six quarto volumes ; but, being only 
a secondary work it was only of secondary value, and was wholly 
superseded by the commentaries of Drs. Clarke and Benson. 

Dr. Coke and the Irish Coiilereiice. — Next in import- 
ance to his official relation witli the Methodists of America, which 
will be considered in its place, was Dr. Coke's connection with the Irish 
Conference. In 1782 Mr. Wesley directed him to convene the Irish 
preachers at Dublin and to preside, as his representative, over their 
assembly. So well pleased were they with his management of their 
affairs, which hitherto had been part and parcel of Mr. Wesley's En- 
glish Conference work, that they petitioned for his reappointment. 
For nearly thirty years Dr. Coke presided at the annual sessions of 
the Irish Conference, and to the force of his character and the wisdom 

British Wesleyan Home Missions. 477 

of his measures the Methodism of Ireland is largely indebted for its 
present flourishing condition. 

British Wesleyan Home Missions. — In 1805 Dr. Coke, 
who had been elected President of the British Wesleyan Conference,, 
astonished that body by bringing forward a scheme for the evangeli- 
zation of neglected portions of England and Wales. Methodism itself 
was a grand missionary society, and some of the preachers regarded it 
as sufiicient ; but Dr. Coke had traveled over the country and knew it 
better than any other man in England, and, therefore, he was per- 
mitted to inaugurate his plan, especially as he would be obliged to 
find his own missionaries and gather or furnish his own supplies. 

From one of the reports of Dr. Coke, in the capacity of Methodist 
Home Missionary Secretary, it appeared that in 1808, "out of eleven 
hundred parishes in England and Wales, perhaps one half of them sel- 
dom or never hear the Gospel. In numerous small towns, villages, and 
hamlets a very considerable part of the inhabitants attend no place of 
worship whatever." It was in places and among people of this de- 
scription that the doctor established his home missions, and the work 
thus inaugurated has grown into a prominent department of British 
Wesleyanism, under the management of the Committees of the Home 
Mission and Contingent Fund, and of the Metropolitan Auxiliary and 
Home Mission Fund ; by whoin " additional ministers " are employed 
as Home Missionaries, " that specific attention may be given to the 
neglected and careless jDortions of the population of our large towns 
and rural districts ; " and especially in London, whose " ajDpalling moral 
and social condition demands a much larger share of the practical sym- 
pathy of our Connection." * 

Missions ainong^ French Prisoners of War. — The 
war with France had resulted in the capture of about seventy thou- 
sand French prisoners, who were distributed in barracks and j^rison- 
shi23s in different parts of the kingdom. The wretched condition 
of these men excited the sympathy of Dr. Coke, who, at the Confer- 
ence of 1811, proposed a system of missions among them. The Con- 
ference admitted the excellence of the design, but excused itself on 
account of the lack of funds. This objection Coke overruled by pledg- 
ing the entire expense of the mission from his own private fortune ; 

* Pierce's " Ecclesiastical Principles and Polity of the Wesleyan Methodists." Edition of 18*73.. 

478 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

and having a number of men at command who could preach in the 
French hmguage, the work was at once commenced. 

These missionaries were well received by the captive Frenchmen, 
who thus gained a knowledge of divine truth which was quite out of 
the usual hne of a soldier's acquirements. Bibles were also distributed 
among them, and when these favored prisoners were exchanged, they 
carried home with them quite a different idea of English religion from 
that which most Frenchmen held, and of which their views were not 
the most favorable, being learned by the thrusts of British bayonets 
or out of the muzzles of British muskets and cannon. 

Dr. Coke's Liast Mission was organized on a magnificent 
scale. In the year 1811 he married, and soon after buried, another 
wife, Miss Ann Loxdale, an eminent Methodist lady of Liverpool ; and 
being again alone in the world, his heart now turned toward a far-away 
country of which for years he had made frequent inquiry as a field of 
missionary operations. 

Under date of Dublin, June 29, 1813, he writes : "' I am now dead 
to Europe and alive for India. God himself has said to me, ' Go to 
Ceylon.' I shall bear my own expenses, of course. I am studying 
the Portuguese language continually, and am perfectly certain I shall 
conquer it before I land in Ceylon." 

As usual. Dr. Coke laid his plans before the Wesleyan Conference, 
under whose auspices his work was all performed. It was nothing less 
than the estabhshment of a system of missions in the very ends of the 
earth ; that is to say, in the East Indies, and at the Cape of Good 
Hope ; from which, as centers of operations, he designed to evangehze 
South Africa, India, and the entire system of British colonies in the 
islands of the Indian Ocean. 

"AVhere are the immense amounts of money to be raised to carry 
out this splendid scheme ? " asked the Wesleyan Conference in amaze- 

" I will advance the money myself to the extent of six thousand 
pounds," answered Dr. Coke. 

Such munificence roused the spirits of his brethren, and when it 
was announced that the doctor proposed to lead the expedition in per- 
son, the Conference was all ablaze. They could not bear to lose such 
a man, but they now began to realize that he was larger than any one 

Dr. Coke's Last Mtssiois-. 479 

■country and belonged to all mankind ; thej, therefore, made arrange- 
ments to take care of the home work, which he must now place wholly 
in their hands ; and with prayers and tears, and a goodly sum of money 
to lighten the heavy draft on his private purse, they sent him forth in 
the name of the Lord and of British Methodism to set up the standard 
of the cross on the other side of the world. 

On the first of January, 1814, a fleet of thirty-three merchantmen, 
under convoy of four ships of the Royal Navy, set sail for the embryo 
empire then controlled by the East India Company ; having among 
their passengers the Missionary Bishop, Thomas Coke, and nine other 
brave-hearted Methodists, who had caught his heroic spirit and de- 
voted their lives to the carrying out of his grand design. 

But the leader was destined to land on fairer shores and in sunnier 
•climes than those for which he sailed. On the morning of the 3d of 
May, 1814, his servant, on going to awaken his master, found his life- 
less body lying on the floor of his cabin, where he had fallen in a fit of 
apoplexy ; and on the evening of the same day all that was mortal of 
Thomas Coke was buried in the Indian Ocean. 

And what tomb could have been more appropriate? This man, 
whose heart was great enough to love and to labor for all lands, 
deserved to have a grave as spacious as the sea. 


""•^^fji'^i'^-^'^-^, ' . .jv-tS-^-g s.-^-^^ ^ -^ .■'JJdi'iSSijl/t^liS^i 

Before taking up the work of Bishop Coke in America it will be 
well to follow a little further the fortunes of his bereaved band. 

Although their chief had been taken away, the Kttle band of mis- 

480 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

sionaj-ies luid nothintr to do but continue their vovaije. On their 
arrival at their destination the officers of the East India Company, at 
Bombay, gave them every assistance, not only for their personal com- 
fort but for the prosecution of their plans ; and at the service which 
they held on the first Sunday after their landing, Lord Molesworth, the 
military commander of the station, and a native of European descent, 
Mr. Salmon, were happily converted to God ; who thus by his Spirit 
bore witness to the heavenly mission on which these his servants had 
been sent. 

The sequel of Lord Molesworth's history is worth relating. Shortly 
after his conversion he sailed from India on the ill-fated transport, the 
"Arniston," which was wr eked off the coast of South Africa, and all on 
board, except two or three, found a watery grave. One of the surviv- 
ors reported the fact that as the ship was going down Lord Molesworth 
was busy walking up and down the deck pointing the helpless soldiers^ 
passengers, and seamen to '* the Lamb of God which taketli away the sin 
of the world;" and at the last moment taking his wife in his arms^ 
they went down together, and their bodies Avere afterward washed 
ashore locked in each other's embrace. 

The tidings of the death of Dr. Coke were received in England 
with unspeakable grief. A series of memorial meetings were held, 
which, besides giving expression to sentiments of love and sorrow, led 
to the formation of The Wesleyan Missionary Society, which, under 
the leadership of Jabez Bunting, carried out the grand designs of Dr. 
Coke in India, and which from that day to this, under the manage- 
ment of the clearest heads and largest hearts of the British Wes- 
leyan Connection, has cai-ried forward the blessed work of evangel- 
izing the M'orld. 

\%^hatcoat and Vasey. — It would be difficult to imagine a 
more suitable choice than that of the man chosen by Mr. AVesley to be 
his envoy to the American Methodists, and to transfer to thein the 
ministerial succession. With him he also sent Mr. Richard Whatcoat 
and Mr. Thomas Yasey ; the first of whom is described as " one of the 
saintliest men in the primitive itinerancy of Methodism. Had he 
been a papist he might liave been canonized." 

Ricliaril l»Vliatcoat was born in the parish of Gloucestershire, 
England, on the 23d of February, 1736. He was early the subject of 

KicHARD AVhatcoat. 481 

religious impressions, and in liis twenty -second year he experienced 
the power of regenerating grace. His conversion was one of those 
sudden and glorions transitions from darkness to light, from nature 
to grace, which especially distinguished tlie early history of Method- 
ism ; and about three years afterward he received another special bap- 
tism of the Holy Spirit, under the instructions of Mr. Mather, afterward 
Bishop Mather. 

Of this experience he says : " On the 28th of March, 1761, my soul 


lusnor wiiATOOAT. 

was drawn out and engaged in a manner it never was before. Sud- 
denly I was stripped of all but love. Now all was love, and prayer, 
and praise ; and in this happy state, rejoicing evermore, and in every 
thins ffivins: thanks, I continued for some years with little intermis- 
sion or abatement, wanting nothing for soul or body more than I 
received from day to day." 

For eight or nine years lie labored as a class-leader in Wednes- 
bury, Staffordshire, tliat portion of the " Black Country " in which, 
as has been seen, the Methodists suffered such fearful persecutions; 

482 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

and in 1769, at the Leeds Conference, he was projDOsed and accepted 
as an itinerant preacher ; in wliich work lie was greatly blessed on 
circuits in England, Ireland, and Wales. 

It was the desire of Dr. Coke that AVhateoat f^hould accompany 
him to America ; and Shadford, who was familiar with the work in 
that country, urged him to consent. But lest he should go on a war- 
fare of his own choice Whatcoat observed a day of fasting and prayer 
for divine guidance, and under what he believed to be the special direc- 
tion of the Spirit of God he offered himself for this distant service 
across the sea. 

In 1787 Mr. "Wesley desired his ordination as superintendent in 
America, but the Conference, fearful lest in that case Mr. Wesley 
might recall Bishop Asbury, refused to elect him, and without this 
election, according to the precedent established by Bishop Asbury, he 
could not be ordained as bishop. But at the General Conference of 
1800 the health of Bishop Asbury was so much impaired in conse- 
quence of his privations and labors that he desired the appointment 
of another bishop, and the choice fell upon Whatcoat ; his chief com- 
petitor being the apostle of ^sew England Methodism, Jesse Lee. In 
private life he was remarkable for his entire devotion to God ; as a 
preacher his discourses were plain, instructive, and highly spiritual ; 
as a presiding officer he combined simplicity and dignity. Laban 
Clark, one of his great contemporaries, says of him, " I think I may 
safely say, if ever I knew one who came up to St. James's description 
of a perfect man — one who bridled his tongue and kept in subjection 
his whole body — that man was Richard Whatcoat." 

Tlioiiia!^ Vasey was a man who had been reared amid the 
advantages of wealth, being the adopted heir of a wealthy uncle who 
was a rigid Churchman, and who was greatly indignant at finding his 
nephew had been con\erted among the Methodists. The young man 
was straightly threatened by the loss of all his expected inheritance if 
he should join the Wesleyan Society ; but he preferred to suffer hard- 
ness with the people of God, deliberately sacrificed all the advan- 
tages of his position, and in 1775 entered the ranks of the Methodist 
itinerancy ; in which he had traveled about nine years when he wa.s 
chosen by Mr. Wesley as one of the companions of Dr. Coke on his 
episcopal mission to America. 

James CREiGHTOisr. 483 

Yasey makes but a small ligure in the history of American Meth- 
odism ; for, after laboring in this country about two years, he was 
induced to accept an ordination from Bishop White, of Pliiladelphia, 
a representative of the English Church, and soon after this he returned 
to England. He was, however, illy satisfied with his curacy in the 
Established Church ; and re-entered the Methodist itinerancy, in 1Y89, 
in which, with much zeal and success, he labored during the twenty- 
two following years. Bending under infirmities, he retired in 1826, 
and liis death occurred at Leeds on the 27th of December in that 

Rev. James Creiglitoii. — The Kev. James Creigliton, A.B., 
whom Mr. Wesley called to his assistance in ordaining Messrs. What- 
coat and Vasey for America, was a native of Cavan, the chief town in 
the county of Cavan, in the northern province of Ulster, Ireland ; a 
student of Dublin University, and a Presbyter in the English Church, 
which at that time had a feeble representation in Ireland. 

Bishop Kilmore, by whom he was ordained, appointed him curate 
at his cathedral, with strict injunction to "say nothing about faith" 
in his sermons. But the young man was wiser than his Bishop. He 
had read the writings of Wesley and Fletcher, which had led him into 
evangelical views ; and from a Methodist itinerant, preaching in a 
barn, he had heard a sermon which was the means of leading him to 
Christ, through faith in whom he found pardon and peace. 

In the early days of his Christian experience, having no friend at 
hand to counsel him, he wrote letters to several ministers of his ac- 
quaintance ; but, instead of offering him sympathy and assistance, 
they turned away from hhn as if he " were infected with a plague ; " 
for among the ministry of the Irish Episcopal Church of that day 
personal faith in Christ for present salvation, and the profession of 
experimental religion, were regarded as the wildest fanaticism, but 
little removed from insanity. 

He soon commenced preaching in private houses, barns, ancient 
ruins, and in any place where he could gather a congregation, and 
conversions began to occur under his ministry. This brought out a 
remonstrance from his fellow-clergymen, who charged him with that 
great crime, " irregularity." But Creighton replied : " I never saw any 
fruits of my labor till I became irregular," and still went on with his 

484 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

■work. A\'itlioiit any direct relations with the Methodists lie actually 
became one himself, tnivelino- a circuit of his own, and ffiithcrins: his 
converts into societies, in true Weslevan fashion. The presence of 
the Lord among the people was evidenced by a large increase in the 
attendance at the churches ; but there was so much Methodism about 
tlie movement that the clergy bitterly opposed it, prefen-ing that their 
churches should remain half empty rather than that they sliould be 
filled with persons who believed in " conversion." 

Among the converts were some papists, whose apostasy from the 
Romish Church so enraged the priests that Creighton was in great 
danger of his life ; and his brother, who was a leader of one of tlie 
classes, was Avaylaid with the intention to murder him. But having 
received intelligence of it, he escaped his would-be murderers by 
taking another road. In 1781-2 Creighton extended his labors 
through seven of the central counties of the island in the provinces of 
Ulster and Leinster, during which he walked or rode about foui- 
thousand miles. 

Wesley, who doubtless heard of his labors in some of his Irish 
tours, invited him to London in 1783; and, after a second invitation, 
he " consented to go in the strength of the Most High." During the 
fourteen years of his pastorate in Cavan, the community had been vis- 
ibly as well as spiritually reformed, and his leave-taking of his parish- 
ioners, many of whom had been saved through his ministry, was very 
tender and affecting. Like all the regular clergy who joined the ranks 
of the itinerants, Creighton was received at once by Mr. Wesley 
into full membership in the Conference. He preached at City Road, 
administered the sacraments to the Societies in London and in the 
neighboring counties, and assisted Mr. Wesley in editing his " Ar- 
minian Magazine." On the 1st of Sejitember, 1784, John Wesley, 
according to the custom of the English Church, assisted by the Rev. 
Thomas Coke and the above-named Rev. James Creighton, ordained 
Messrs. Whatcoat and Yasey as deacons, and on the following day as 
presbyters or elders. For the remainder of his life he was a steadfast 
Methodist, and shared in most if not all the ordinations performed 
by Mr. Wesley. His death occurred in 1820, in the 83d year of 
his age.* 

* SANDt'ORD's " Memoirs." 

Ceedentials of " Superentteis^den-t" Coke. 455 

This was all quite regular and correct, according to the principles 
which Mr. "Wesley had repeatedly set forth ; but, in addition to this, he 
performed a separate act of consecration upon Dr. Coke, as " Super- 
intendent of the Methodist Societies in America," which office Coke 
was to convey to Asbury ; and Coke and Asbury were to be " joint 
Superintendents of all the brethren in America." 

Credentials of " Supermteiident " Coke.— The fol- 
lowing were the credentials given to Dr. Coke by Mr. "Wesley : — 

To all to whom these presents shall come, John Wesley, late Fellow of Lin- 
coln College in Oxford, Presbyter of the Church of England, sendeth greeting: — 

Whereas many of the people in the southern provinces of North America, 
who desire to continue under my care, and still adhere to the doctrine and disci- 
pline of the Church of England, are greatly distressed for want of ministers to 
administer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, according to the 
usage of the same Church ; and whereas there does not appear to be any other 
way of supplying them with ministers : 

Know all men, that I, John Wesley, think myself to be providentially called, 
at this time, to set apart some persons for the work of the ministry in America. 
And, therefore, under the protection of almighty God, and with a single eye to 
his glory, I have this day set apart as a superintendent, by the imposition of my 
hands, and prayer, (l>eing assisted by other ordained ministers,) Thomas Coke, doc- 
tor of civil law, a presbyter of the Church of England, and a man whom I judge 
to be well qualified for that great work. And I do hereby recommend him to all 
whom it may concern, as a fit person to preside over the flock of Christ. In tes- 
timony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this second day of Sep- 
temijer, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four. 

JoHX Wesley. 

Bristol, September 10, 1784. 

To Dr. Coke., Mr. Asbury, and our Brethren in North America. 

By a very uncommon train of providences, many of the provinces of North 
America are totally disjoined from the mother country, and erected into inde- 
pendent States. The English Government has no authority over them, either 
rlvil or ecclesiastical, any more than over the States of Holland. A civil author- 
ity is exercised over them, partly by the Congress, partly by the Provincial 
Assemblies. But no one either exercises or claims any ecclesiastical authority at 
all. In this peculiar situation, some thousands of the inhabitants of these States 
desire my advice, and, in compliance with their desire, I have drawn up a little 

Lord King's account of the primitive Church convinced me, many years 
ago, that Bishops and Presbyters are the same order, and consequently have the 

486 Illusteated History of Methodism. 

same right to ord;un. For many years I have been importuned, from time to 
time, to exercise this right by ordaining part of our traveling preachers. But 1 
have still refused ; not only for peace sake, but because I was determined, as 
little as possible, to violate the established order of the national Church to 
which I belonged. 

But the case is widely different between England and North America. 
Here there are Bishops, who have a legal jurisdiction ; in America there are 
none, neither any parish minister; so that, for some hundreds of miles together, 
tliere is none either to baptize, or to administer the Lord's Supper. Here, there- 
fore, my scruples are at an end ; and I conceive myself at full liberty, as I violate 
no order, and invade no man's rights, by appointing and sending laborers into 
the harvest. 

I have accordingly appointed Dr. Coke and Mr. Francis Asbury to be joint 
Superintendents over our brethren in North America; as also Richard Whatcoat 
and Thomas Vasey, to act as elders among them, by baptizing and administering 
the Lord's Supper. And I have prepared a liturgy, little differing from that of 
the Church of England. (I think the best constituted national Church in the 
■world.) which I advise all the traveling preachers to use on the Lord's Day, in all 
the congregations, reading the litany only on Wednesdays and Fridays, and 
praying extempore on all other days. I also advise the elders to administer the 
supper of the Lord on every Lord's Day. 

If any one will point out a more rational and scriptural way of feeding and 
guiding these poor sheep in the wilderness, I will gladly embrace it. At present 
I cannot see any better method than that I have taken. 

It has, indeed, been proposed to desire the English Bishops to ordain p:irt 
of our preachers for Anvrica. But to this I object: (1.) I desired the Bishop 
of London to ordain one, but could not prevail. (2.) If they consented, we know 
the slowness of their proceedings; but the matter admits of no delay. (3.) If 
they would ordain them now, they would expect to govern them ; and how griev- 
ously would tliis entangle us I (4.) As our American brethren are now totally 
disentangled, both from the State and the English hierarchy, we dare not entan- 
gle them again, either with the one or the other. They are now at full liberty, 
simply to follow the Scriptures and the primitive Church. And we judge it best 
that tliey should stand fast in tliat liberty wherewitii God has so strangely set 

tliL-m free. 

John Wesley. 

The Validity of Methodist Episcopacy. — The conse- 
cration of Dr. Coke as "Superintendent," when he was already a 
Presbyter, and as such the clerical equal of Mr. Wesley liimself, has 
been the occasion of no small controversy, which it may be proper 
here to briefly review. If the word " episcopal " is to have a place in 

The Validity of Methodist Episcopacy. 487 

the name of the chief body of Methodists in America, it would seem 
to be of some interest and importance to the ministry and membership 
of that body to know exactly what the word is there intended to 
mean, and what are the grounds for giving it such definition. The 
validity of the Episcopacy of American Methodism has been freely 
and frequently challenged ; and a brief statement of facts, and a brief 
demurrer from the views set forth in the last, largest, and otherwise the 
best biography of John Wesley, may properly have place in this volume. 
John Wesley was not a Bishop of the Church of England, but he 
was a Presbyter providentially called to an extraordinary but legiti- 
mate ordaining act ; and in this latter capacity he conferred episcopal 
authority on Dr. • Coke, under what Avas doubtless an " exigency of 
necessity," as Hooker calls it. This high authority on ecclesiastical 
order says : — 

" There may be sometimes very just aud sufficient reasons to allow ordination 
without a Bishop. The whole Church visible being the true oinginal subject of all 
power, it hath not ordinarily allowed any other than Bishops alone to ordain. 
Howbeit, as the ordinary cause is ordinarily in all things to be observed, so it 
may be in some cases not unnecessary that we decline from the ordinary ways. 
Men may be extraordinarily yet allowably two ways admitted into spiritual func- 
tions in the Church. One is when God himself doth of himself raise up a way; 
another, when the exigency of necessity doth constrain to leave the usual ways 
of the Church, which otherwise we would willingly keej)." — Ecclesiastical 
Polity, vii, 14. 

Again : "Let them [the Bishops] continually bear in mind that it is rather 
the force of custom whereby the Church, having so long found it good to con- 
tinue the regiment of her virtuous Bishops, doth still uphold, maintain, and 
honor them in that respect than that any true and heavenly law can be showed 
by the evidence whereof it may of a truth appear that the Lord himself hath 
appointed Presbyters forever to be under the regiment of Bishops." — Ibid., vii, 5. 

These are the identical grounds on which Wesley, in his creden- 
tials to Dr. Coke, claims authority to set apart a Superintendent and 
ordain Presbyters for the establishment of a Church with an Episcopal 
form and order among the Methodists of America, and these also are 
the grounds on which that Church, in its book of Discipline, still 
maintains and regulates its Episcopacy. 

On this subject. Rev. Dr. Whedon, the official Book Editor, says :* 

*No quotation marks are here used, th's admirable resume- oi the subject having been 
prepared by Dr. Whedon especially for this volume. 

488 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

In complete accordance with this doctrine of this great standard author, 
"the judicious Hooker," did AVesley establish, intentionally and truly, the Epis- 
copacy of American Methodism. For, 

First, He was a Presbyter of the Church of England, a grade of ministry in 
which the right to ordnin inheres, although ordination by an elder is not by the 
"Church visible " " ordinarily allowed." The only question, then, is, whether that 
"exigency of necessity" existed calling for an extraordinary ordination by a 
Presbyter in this case of Wesley. 

Second, This extraordinary call did exist in more ways than one. First, 
There existed a great people,, the substance and material of an inchoate Church, 
founded by this "Wesley himself, demanding from his hand a form of govern- 
ment. For four years Wesley declined to obey that demand and furnish the or- 
ganizing act; by whicii delay the people were left without polity and without the 
sacraments of Christ. Secand, The Bishops of the Church of England entirely 
neglected Wesley's request for an ordination by their l)ands. And even if they 
were willing^ there was great danger tliat their hand would in fact repress the 
great work. The very safety and continued existence of this revival, and the con- 
tinuance of this people, required that he who, under providence, founded their or- 
der, should shape their form and guide their movements in accordance with their 
past history. Third, As there was thus an external call and exigent "necessity," 
so there doubtless was a divine call ; not miraculous, but by movement of the 
blessed Spirit to this work ; and so Wesley himself in his episcopal diploma to 
Coke declared: "I, John Wesley, think myself providentially called at this 
time to set apart," etc. "And, therefore, under protection of Almighty God, I 
have this day set apart," etc. Fourth, And hereby is precluded all irregular and 
uncalled-for ordinations by Presbyters who have no such "exigency" to show 
for their act. Wesley said, in 1755, " It is not clear to us that Predtyters, so cir- 
cumstanced as we are, may appoint or ordain others," since the providential call 
had not then come; nor can it be inferred from all this that our polity is y>yoi^- 
er\y preshyterial ; for though the fountain of the ordaining power is in the 
Church and Presbytery, yet the presbyterial act of ordaining is extraordinary, 
and witli design of preserving the Episcopate. If all the Bishops were dead, the 
elders would ordain new and proper Bishops; and if both elders and Bishops 
were dead, the jjeople would rightfully ordain new ones. 

From all this it follows, that in strict churchly order, on the principle 
stated by Hooker, Wesley's ordination was legitimate, and no Episcopal Church 
has a riglit to reject its Episcopacy. It is, in fact, an emancipation of the Epis- 
copacy from all despotic successional triimraels, and the restoration of the free 
and voluntary Episcopacy of the primitive Church. And as our Church was 
organized before either the Roman or the Anglican ordinations in this country, 
so we were the first regularly established Episcopal Church in America. 

It is true that in 1794^ within a twelvemonth of his deatli. Coke 

The Validity of Methodist Episcopacy. 489 

wrote a letter to Wilberforce saying he was willing to return most 
fully into tlic bosom of the Established Church on condition that 
his Royal Highness the Prince Regent and the Government would 
appoint him their Bishop in India; which fact is quoted by Mr. 
Tyerman as evidence against the validity of Coke's Episcopal con- 
secration by John Wesley. But the fact has no such bearing upon 
the case. The success of Bishop Coke's final missionary scheme 
doubtless seemed to him at that time to require the co-operation of the 
Established Church of England. Hitherto he had been supported 
only by the Wesleyans ; and it is an evidence of his great catholicity 
of spirit, as well as of his sagacity, that he was willing to receive a 
confirmatory sanction from the English Church, which did not at all 
invalidate his AYesleyan episcopate. 

This letter has also been cited as evidence of the personal ambi- 
tion of Bishop Coke, which unworthy motive his life-long labors and 
self-sacrifices sufticiently disprove. 

Mr. Tyerman further says : " These are unpleasant facts, which 
we would rather have consigned to oblivion had they not been neces- 
sary to vindicate Wesley from the huge inconsistency of ordaining a 
co-equal presbyter to be a bishop. Wesley meant the ceremony to be 
a mere formality likely to recommend his delegate to the favor of the 
Methodists in America : Coke, in his ambition, wished and intended it 
to be considered as an ordination to a bishopric." 

To this evident error concerning Mr. Wesley's intention there are 
two effectual replies : — 

First. Dr. Coke, being a presbyter, was solemnly " set apart," or con- 
secrated, by Wesley as " Superintendent ; " a proceeding which would be 
highly discreditable to both parties if it were intended as " a mere form- 
ality," that is to say, an imposition upon the American Methodists. This 
act was performed avowedly for tlie purpose of establishing an epis- 
copal form of Church government for tlie Methodists in America ; and 
how could such a form of Church government be based on " a mere 
formality likely to recommend his delegate to the favor," etc. ? 

Wesley also sent to the American Church three distinct forms for 
constituting three classes of ministers which the Church has essen- 
tially retained to the present day ; the status of each of the three 
classes being indicated in the Methodist Discipline by the word 

490 Illustrated Histoey of Metiiodis.m. 

" ordination " as the name for the service of constituting deacons and 
elders, and by the use of tlie word " consecration " as the name of the 
service whereby certain elders are " set apart " as superintendents or 
bishops. These forms demonstrate the intention of "Wesley to estab- 
lish a perpetual episcopal form of government ; and if he thus sent 
authority for others to set apart men for an essentially episcopal office, 
how can it be doubted that he himself intended thus to consecrate 
Dr. Coke? 

Second. The fact that Bishop Coke afterward sought other ordina- 
tion has nothing to do with the question of what were Wesley's inten- 
tions in setting him apart as Superintendent for America. 

If Coke and Asbury had been content with Wesley's title of 
" Superintendent," it would have saved Mr. Wesley no little trouble ; 
but to their English ears there was a charm about the word " Bishop," 
though they well knew it meant nothing more than the word which 
their father in the Gospel had used in setting them apart for the Epis- 
copal office in America. They, therefore, claimed the more dignified 
appellation ; and, not to be unmindful of their venerable chief, they 
set him down also as a " Bishop " in the Minutes of the American 
Methodists for 1784, which Minutes were printed in. and published 
from, Mr. Wesley's book room in London. 

Mr. Wesley's letter to Asbury, in 1788, is also cited by Mr. Tyerman 
as evidence that Wesley did not intend to make a Bishop of Dr. Coke. 
In that year Mr. Wesley writes : — 

But in one point, my dear brother, I am a little afraid botli the doctor aud 
you differ from me. I study to be little ; you study to be great. I creep ; you 
strut along. I found a school ; you a college ! nay, and call it after your own 
names ! O, beware ; do not seek to be something I Let me be nothing, and 
"Christ be all in all!" 

One instance of this your greatness has given me great concern. How can 
you, how dare you, sufter yourself to be called Bishop? I shudder, I start at the 
very thought! Men may call me a knave or a fool, a rascal, a scoundrel, and I 
am content; but they sliall never, by my consent, call me Bishop ! For my sake, 
for God's sake, for Christ's sake, put a full end to this! Let the Presbyterians 
do what they please, but let the Metiiodists know their calling better. 

Thus, my dear Franky. I have told you all that is in my heart. And let this, 

when I am no more seen, bear witness how sincerely I am your affectionate 

friend and brother. 

John Wesley. 

The Validity of Methodist Episcopacy. 491 

The sense of this letter appears on the face of it. "Wesley does 
not say, I am not a Bishop ; but he says, " Men shall never, by my 
consent, call me a Bishop ; " and this same self-sacrifice and humility 
he urges upon his " dear Franky." For decade after decade he wielded 
Episcopal powers, except in the single matter of performing ordina- 
tions ; and at last, when it became needful, he solemnly ordained two 
men for America, on whom he conferred the orders of deacon and pres- 
byter ; and the other, being already a presbyter, he consecrated, and au- 
thorized to do every thing in America which he himself was doing in 
England, though the much-abused title of " Bishop " he, for reasons 
of policy, refrained from using. There is, then, no difficulty in under- 
standing that John Wesley intended to do precisely what he did 
do, namely, to confer on Dr. Coke an additional office to that of 
presbyter ; which, by whatever name it may be called, was a proper 
and historic bishopric; and this, beyond all contradiction, his provi- 
dential position enabled him rightfully to do. Whoever doubts this, 
let him read again Wesley's Letters Credential " to Dr. Coke, Mr. 
Asbury, and our brethren in North America." 

There is also another view of the case which commends itself to all 
Episcopalians, whether they be Protestant, Methodist, or Reformed, 
viz. : AngKcan Episcopacj^ was, in Wesley's day, so mingled with dog- 
matism and muddled with politics that it stood in jjerishing need of a 
re-enforcement fresh from heaven, and a restoration to apostolic 
methods and spirit. Just this re-enforcement and restoration was given 
through the grace of God committed in pentecostal measure to John 
Wesley ; who, if liis apostolic character may be judged by the mighty 
works which showed themselves forth in him, was the most truly 
apostolic Bishop ever seen in Great Britain ; from whom, through 
Bishop Coke, the great apostle of Christian missions in modern times, 
the episcopal line of the Methodists descends. 




OX tlie 18th of September, 1784, Bisliop Coke and Elders Whatcoat 
and Vasey set sail for America, and on the 3d of Xovember 
landed at Xew York, where they were heartily welcomed by John 
Dickins, preacher of the Xew York Society. 

" By some means or other," writes Dr. Coke, " the whole country 
has been, as it were, expecting, and Mr. Asbiiry looldng out for me for 
some time." On the night of his arrival Coke preached in Wesley 
Chapel — " old John-street ; " and from Xew York rode to Philadel- 
pliia, where, after holding service at the Methodist Churches, and 
at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, he proceeded southward, and on Sun- 
day, the 14th of Xovembcr, arrived at Barratt's Chapel, where, he 
says, " in the midst of a forest I had an honorable congregation, to 
whom I endeavored to set forth the Redeemer as our wisdom, righte- 
ousness, sanctification, and redemption. After the sermon a plain, 
robust man came up to me in the pulpit and kissed me. I thought it 

Black Harey. 493 

could be no other tlian Mr. Asbury ; and I was not deceived. I ad- 
ministered the sacrament, after preaching, to five or six hundred 
communicants, and held a love-feast. It was the best season I ever 
knew, except one in Charlemont, in Ireland." 

After making known his mission to Mr. Asbury, it was determined 
to call a Conference, at Baltimore, of all the Methpdist preachers, on 
the ensuing Christmas-eve, and Freeborn Garrettson, whom Coke de- 
scribes as " an excellent young man, aU meekness, love, and activity," 
was intrusted with the, by no means easy, task of .bringing the 
preachers together. 

As something more than a month must elapse before the session of 
the Christmas Conference, Mr. Asbury drew up a route of travel for 
Bishop Coke, who accordingly made a journey of about a thousand 
miles, visiting the Societies, preachiug, baptizing, and celebrating the 
supper of the Lord. His coming was hailed with joy by the people, 
whose hearts had hungered for the sacraments of the Church, and 
who mourned that their childi'en were growing up unbaptized. These, 
in great numbers, they now brought to receive the holy ordinance at 
the hands of the new Bishop, and day after day and night after night 
witnessed the gathering of glad disciples to celebrate the Holy Eucharist. 

Black Harry. — Harry Hosier, Asbury's negro servant, who 
accompanied him in his travels, was directed to accompany Bishop 
Coke in this his first Episco|)al tour. He was, himself, no mean spec- 
imen of a Methodist preacher. He was small in stature, perfectly 
black, and unable to read ; nevertheless, he was by some pronounced the 
greatest Methodist preacher iu America. At different times he acted 
as driver for the carriage of Asbury, Coke, "Whatcoat, and Garrettson ; 
but he excelled all his masters in popularity as a preacher ; sharing 
with them in their public services not only in the black, but also in the 
white, congregations. Lednum, in his history, relates that on a certain 
occasion at "Wilmington, Delaware, where Methodism had not yet be- 
came popular, a number of the citizens who had but a moderate opin- 
ion of the body came to hear Bishop Asbury. Old Asbury Chapel 
was, at the time, so full that they could not get in, and they stood out- 
side to hear the Bishop's sermon ; which, at its close, they comphmented 
highly, saying, "If all Methodist preachers could preach like the 
Bishop, we should like to be constant hearers." 


Illitsteated History of ^Iethodism. 

"Tliat was not the Bisliop, but tlie Bishop's servant," was the 
reply ; for, on this occasion, as was frequently the case, the servant 
had taken the master's place in the pulpit. This only raised Asbury 
higher in their estimation ; for, if the servant were such a preacher, 
what must the master be ? 

Asbury acknowledged that the best way to obtain a large congrega- 
tion was to announce that Harry would preach. But alas I popularity 
came near spoiling the poor fellow ; for, what with high compKments 

In which Asbary commenced his Itinerant Ministry. 

and lavish hospitality he became temporarily a victim of intemper- 
ance ; but, by the help of divine grace he struggled manfully with his 
temptations, was restored to the divine favor, resumed his public 
labors, and died in the faith, at Philadelphia, about the year ISIO ; his 
body being borne to the grave by a great procession of admirers, both 
black and white. 

Of liis companion on this tour, Bishop Coke writes, under date of 

The Chkistmas Coistfeeence. 495 

November 29 : "I have now had the pleasure of hearing Harry preach 
several times. I sometimes give notice, immediately after preaching, 
that in a Kttle time he will preach to the blacks ; but the whites 
always stay to hear him. I really believe that he is one of the best 
preachers in the world — there is such an amazing power attends his 
word, thougli he cannot read ; and he is one of the humblest creatures 
I ever saw." 

Coke, as might have been expected, was dehghted with his Ameri- 
can brethren ; especially with Asbury, in whose presence he declared 
he felt himself a child, and wdiom he describes as the most apostohc 
man he ever saw, except Mr. "Wesley. The fine education and supe- 
rior attainments of the Doctor did not appear to raise him in his own 
estimation above his brethren who had been less favored in their oppor- 
tunities for culture, but who were heroes in their way ; and the most 
diffident and retiring among them were soon perfectly at ease in his 
company. Yast multitudes attended his ministry ; the chapels were 
overflowing ; and frequently it was necessary for him to come down 
from the pulpit and address the congregation from the chapel steps. 
The whole peninsula of Maryland was moved ; and the power of the 
Lord gloriously attended the administration of his sacraments, and the 
preaching of his word. While waiting for the appointed 24th of De- 
cembei-, "Whatcoat and Yasey also were having a taste of the new 
mission which was opening before them. 

The Christmas Conference. — On the ITth of December, 
all the episcopal party, except Whatcoat, arrived at Perry Hall, which 
Coke describes as the " most elegant house in this State ; " while Black, 
who opportunely arrived from ISTova Scotia to take part in the ap- 
proaching convocation, describes it as " the most spacious and elegant 
building I have seen in America." In this hospitable Methodist man- 
sion the preliminaries of the approaching Conference were arranged, 
and on Friday the 24th of December, 1784, the httle company rode 
forth from Perry Hall to Baltimore, about eighteen miles distant, and 
at ten o'clock in the morning opened the first American General Con- 
ference in the Lovely Lane Church. 

Garrettson had sped his way over twelve hundred miles in six 
weeks, summoning the itinerants to the Conference ; preaching as he 
went ; and on his return found sixty out of the eighty-one ministers 

496 Illusteatzd History of Methodism. 

present. Bishop Coke, on taking tlie chair presented his Letters Cre- 
dential, and, in accordance with Mr. "Wesley's design, " it was agreed," 
savs Asburv, "to form ourselves into an Episcopal Church, and to 
have superintendents, elders, and deacons."' 

Election and Consecration of Bislioii Asbnry.^- 
Mr. A shury declined to accept the Superintendency on Mr. Wesley's 
appointment unless, in addition thereto, his brethren should elect him 
to that office ; whereupon both Asbmy and Coke , were unanimously 
elected, and on the second day of the session Asbury was ordained 
deacon by Dr. Coke, assisted by Elders Whatcoat and Yasey. On the 
third day, which was Sunday, Asbury was ordained elder, and on 
Monday he was consecrated as Superintendent by Bishop Coke, his 
friend Otterbein, of the German Reform Church, and the elders as- 
sisting in the solemn ser\'ice. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 
were sj^ent in enacting rules of diecipUne and the election of preach- 
ers to orders. It was agreed that the Liturgy which had been pre- 
pared by Mr. Wesley for the use of the American Church should be 
read in the congregations ; and that the sacraments and ordinations 
should be celebrated according to the Episcopal form. On Eriday 
several deacons were ordained, and on Sunday, the second day of Jan- 
uary, 1785, twelve elders were ordained, who had been previously 
ordained as deacons, and the Conference ended " in great j)eace and 

It is worthy of note that Mr. Wesley's plan for the Methodist 
Episcopal Church was adopted by the Christmas Conference without a 
dissenting voice ; and as no essential change in its construction has 
since been made, it is unquestionably true, as stated by Bishop Simp- 
son in his reply to Dean Stanley, on the occasion of the reception of 
the latter at St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church, New York : 
that " there is no other organization or communion on earth which 
so clearly and distinctly represents the mind of John Wesley as the 
Methodist Episcopal Church." 

The roll of this Conference is not preserved, but the following are 
known to have been present : Thomas Coke, LL.D., Francis Asbury. 
Eichard Whatcoat, Thomas Yasey, Freeborn Garrettson, William 
Gill, Reuben Ellis, Le Roy Cole, Richard Ivey, James O'Kelly, John 
JIaggerty, Nelson Reed, James O. Cromwell, Jeremiah Lambert, Jolm 

The Christmas Conference. 497 

Dickins, William Glendenning, Francis Poytliress, Joseph Everett, 
William Black, of K. S., William Plioebns, and Thomas Ware. It has 
l)een supposed, from their standing and the proximity of their circuits, 
that the following also were in attendance : Edward Dromgoole, Caleb 
B. Pedicord, Thomas S. Chew, Joseph Cromwell, John Major, Philip 
Cox, Samuel Rowe, William Partridge, Thomas Foster, George Mair, 
Samuel Dudley, Adam Cloud, Michael Ellis, James White, Jonathan 
Forrest, Joseph Wyatt, Philip Bruce, John Magary, William Thomas, 
John Baldwin, Woolman Ilickson, Thomas Haskins, Ira Ellis, John 
Easter, Peter Moriarty, Enoch Matson, Lemuel Green, Thomas Cur- 
tis, Wilham Jessup, Wilson Lee, Thomas Jackson, James Riggin, 
AVilliam Ringold, Isaac Smith, Matthew Greentree, William Lynch, 
Tliomas Bowen, Moses Park, William Cannon, and Richard Swift. 
This would make up the full number — sixty — known to have re- 
sponded to the summons. 

Of the personal appearance and character of this Conference 
nothing arrested the attention of Dr. Coke more than the generally 
youthful aspect of the preachers ; " though most of them," he says, 
"bore marks of severe toil and hard usage." Some of them had suf- 
fered imprisonment for conscience' sake, others had been victims of 
n)obs, and all of them had earned the title of " good soldiers of Jesus 

The elders ordained were as follows : John Tunnell, William Gill, 
Le Roy Cole, JTelson Reed, John Haggei-ty, Reuben Ellis, Richard 
Ivey, Henry Willis, James O'Kelly, and Beverly Allen. Tunnell, 
Willis, and Allen were not present, but received ordination after the 
session. John Dickins, Ignatius Pigman, and Caleb Boyer were 
cliosen deacons. Jeremiah Lambert was ordained elder to serve in 
the West India island of Antigua, where Bishop Coke had a flourish- 
ing mission ; and James O. Cromwell and Freeborn Garrettson were 
ordained elders for the Nova Scotia work. 

The fact that Bishop Asbury allowed such a man as Freeborn 
Garrettson to be captured by his Nova Scotia brother, Black, shows 
that in spite of the War of the Revolution the Methodism of North 
America was still substantially a unit, since it is incredible on any 
other supposition that Garrettson should have beeu spared, to the 
British Provinces. 

498 Illustrated History of Methodism. 

The Methodist Discipline. — Until the time of the Chi-ist- 
mas Conference the " Weslejan Minutes " had been recognized as the 
la'^ of the American Societies. In the preliminary deliberations at 
Perry Hall that code was revised and adapted to the new form of the 
American Church, and this revision, having been adopted by the Christ- 
mas Conference, was incorporated with Mr. "Wesley's revised edition 
of the " Litu]-gy," which he called the " Sunday Ser^-ice," and was 
pubhshed in 1785 as the "Disciphne of the Methodist Episcopal 

The Liturgy was used for a few years in the principal Churches, 
but Sabbath love-feasts and other extra services frequently crowded it 
out, and from being frequently omitted it at last feU into entire disuse ; 
there being no allusion to it in the records later than 1792. Gowns 
and bands were also used for a time by the bishops and elders, but 
these in like manner passed away. 

Among the noteworthy provisions of this first Disciphne are the 
following : — 

Q. 2. "What can be done to further the future union of the Methodists? 
A. During the life of the Rev. Mr. Wesley we acknowledge ourselves his sons 
in the Gospel, ready in matters applying to Church government to obey his com- 
mands. And "we do engage, after his death